Kenneth Lang's testimony began with Mr Prentice establishing that the witness is a solicitor with Mellicks, a law firm in Glasgow used by News of the World Scotland, and that he specialises in civil litigation.
Mr Prentice asked the witness to help describe the basic principles and activities of civil litigation, such as the preparation of a defender's case for court in a civil trial when a client is sued for defamation. Mr Prentice then asked whether it would be normal for someone representing the other party in such a case to be given full or unrestricted access to view all the documents they wanted. Mr Lang stated that this would not be normal.
Mr Prentice put it to the witness that in these cases a commissioner is often involved to deal with the documents lodged from both sides. This commission is called on in disputes about what can be produced in evidence and what can not. Mr Lang agreed with this description of a commissions work. Mr Prentice then asked the witness about the process of redaction and Mr Lang described how the commissioner would "redact" (blank out) certain portions of documentation that were not to be presented as evidence. Mr lang also agreed that the commissioner is independent and does not act for either side in a legal dispute. Mr Prentice asked whether this process had occurred during preparation for this case, and whether the commissioner had viewed the full, unredacted documents, Mr Lang confirmed it had.
Mr Prentice then asked what would happen if witnesses were required in court for a case, what arrangements would be put in place to ensure their attendance in court to allow the smooth flow of witnesses during that case. The Advocate Depute put it to the witness that they would be given accommodation in circumstance, such as the 2006 Sheridan V News of the World civil case in Edinburgh, where witnesses did not live in Edinburgh, and that it would be perfectly normal for the client in the case to pay for this accommodation for the witness. The witness agreed, and stated that not all witnesses in that case were from Edinburgh.
Mr Prentice asked the Mr lang whether he would ever rely on any evidence that appeared to be illegally gained, such as hacking of telephones. The witness replied "absolutely not." Mr Prentice then asked about telephone evidence presented at the 2006 trial, and Mr Lang explained that Mr Sheridan had volunteered his own mobile phone records for evidence.
Mr Prentice then asked when the witness first became involved with the "McNeilage Tape" Mr Lang described how Bob Bird, Editor of the News of the World in Scotland, had informed him of the existence of the tape in September 2006, but that he had no other involvement at that time. Mr Lang had then viewed the tape some time later in the presence of Mr McNeilage's solicitor Mr Vaughn or Harry Findlay. Mr Lang denied any suggestion that he had been involved in the negotiations or agreement over the McNeilage Tape and told the court that a legal team was appointed to deal with the issue, a team he was not part of. Mr Lang however did agree that he had "some input" into later revisions made to the agreement.
Mr Prentice then produced as evidence the contract between Mr McNeilage and the News of the World which showed an agreement to pay Mr McNeilage £200,000 for the tape as well as the camera it was produced with. Mr Lang stated that payment had been made in two instalments to Mr McNeilage's solicitor. Mr Prentice then asked whether Mr McNeilage had been paid £250,000, to which Mr Lang replied “I don't think so, no.”
Mr Prentice then returned to the commission hearing, asking Mr Lang if he had been requested to search for material, to which he replied yes. The witness told the court that he had initially been asked by Mr Sheridan's solicitor not to commence this search, and when these documents were produced in the end they included the agreement just presented to the court and other documents related to the McNeilage tape. With that, Mr Prentice thanked the witness and returned to his seat.
Lord Bracadale then addressed the jury, reiterating that court would now rise for the day to allow time for preparation, then reconvene tomorrow morning for the defence's cross examination of Mr Lang.