Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kenneth Lang - Testimony

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.

By Whatsy


Lynn said...

James, this is a personal question and I know I am going to sound like a big sook but I wondered if at the end of this trial you would like to nominate a charity (preferably non-political) that any of the the users of this blog who feel likewise could donate to in recognition of the impartial way you have handled this and the work you done in keeping us informed about the daily goings on in court?

Bunc said...

Yes your work is much appreciated James - not only good reporting but you've also managed our varying comments and interpretations well. You've been "holding the jackets" very fairly on that score.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest the James Doleman Benevolent Fund, Lynn - make checks payable to James Doleman.

Steve said...

I have to say, Scots law as described here sounds less effective in obtaining evidence than the English rules on 'discovery'. Not that I'm an expert at all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn.
I hear that the phone tappers and chancers group are in need.

However I would agree that James has done an outstanding job,and your idea is not too bad.

Rolo Tomasi said...

Indeed, good effort James and your occasional depute too.

I will happily donate to a nominated charity, as long as it isn't for MSPs (Married Swinging Politicians).

If the verdict goes the way that the truth and justice demand, I will gladly double it.

Anonymous said...

yes, 24 carrat reporting so far james.
Good idea lynn, maybe 'bunc' can donate his bung from the NOW team

Anonymous said...
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James Doleman said...
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James Doleman said...
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Bunc said...

Anon 8:28 LOL You suggesting now that i'm also one of the supposed thousands and thousands of NOTW paid co-conspirators? Ha ha ha The paranoia is catching.

Tommy trial addict said...

You should really be charging us for it James.

You are providing us with a great service and deserve to be paid for the time and effort you put in.

That isn't Rupert Murdoch "firewall" capitalism as, I would suggest, even a socialist would agree that you should be paid for your labour, never mind your expenses.

I'd happily pay a few quid for the service you provide each week.

At the end of the trial if you set up a paypal account I will gladly send you money to help recoup some of the costs you have incurred covering the case and for creating this excellent website.

And please don't ignore this suggestion out of a principled socialist stance – you really do deserve some financial reward for your labour whether you like it or not.

Peter said...

Yes well done Dr James and Professor Whatsy for your reporting - its very much appreciated. What a great thing for your CVs to have produced such a high quality blog.

In terms of donations I had intended to channel my charitable donations this year to a "community organisation" that offers Audio Visual training for troubled youngsters with nose sherbet problems.

It had gotten into difficulty when it did not get £50,000.00 they had been promised for some of their experimental and thought provoking project work.

I think Lynn has made a very good suggestion though so sod them and let me know which off shore bank account you would like me to send a donation to.

You can have it now or in a couple of years when everything has died down and you can enjoy it in peace?

I hope to head up to Glasgee sometime so maybe its best done in cash. Do you prefer Krone, Australian Dollars or untraceable bearer bonds?

Peter said...

A fully legal search on the interweb today demonstrates that the favourite TV show of someone, who will remain (cough) untitled, is The Wire.

How apt.

His favourvite Quotation apparently is:

"Come at the king, you best not miss." - Omar from the Wire.


You couldn't make it up could you -well apparently yes.

On the question of God may I declare myself to be a Marxist and an Atheist (that second one kind of comes free with the first bit like free app. on your Iphone) but also an ethnic Catholic.

Due to a stereotypical large family I seem to be in church more often than most Anglicans for christenings, first holy communions, weddings, funeral etc.

I also did that thing as a kid were I went to mass every day for a month so I will never die without a priest next to me - although what a priest will be doing at my 100th birthday party in the VIP room of Hooters in Las Vegas is anyones guess.

I never take the wafer or wine though, I do not consider every sperm to be sacred and the three times I have been the accused I have not sworn on the bible - that is a bit silly for Marxists to do.

Firstly it has too many made up stories in it from very unreliable sources to take it seriously as a legal document.

Secondly it is largely the creation of powerful and reactionary interests so is best avoided.

There is, however, some useful guidance therein regarding the cold mechanics and going price for treachery though (adjust for inflation).

NB: Available free in the bedside cabinets in most Moat House/Holiday Inn hotels.

Whatsy said...

@Peter well done Dr James and Professor Whatsy for your reporting

It's Mr/Ms Whatsy, if you don't mind. >clenches fist, silently swears revenge<

Steve said...

Peter: "Firstly it [bible] has too many made up stories in it from very unreliable sources to take it seriously as a legal document."
The 10 commandments are pretty basic to most secular systems of law and I can think of three that have come into this case.

"Secondly it is largely the creation of powerful and reactionary interests so is best avoided."
Like who? A few condemned criminals had an input into it as well. Food for thought.