Friday, December 10, 2010

Andrew Coulson Day 2 conclusion

When court reconvened after the morning break Mr Sheridan returned to the subject of Steve Whitamore ( a private investigator who pleaded guilty to breaches of the data protection act) and put it to Mr Coulson that a large number of News of the World (NotW) journalists had used his services, stating that it was 21 out of 40. Mr Coulson replied that he did not know the specifics on individual journalists and indeed  had not thought about the issue for "quite some time." Mr Coulson then challenged Mr Sheridan's figure of 21 journalists which he called "not right" although when asked for a specific number he stated that he did not know. Mr Sheridan asked Mr Coulson if Steve Whittamore had been used by the News of the World "while you were boss" The witness again said he did not know. Mr Sheridan then said that Steve Whittamore had been convicted in 2005 and this had happened "under your watch" Mr Coulson said he had not been involved with Mr Whittamore "in any way, shape or form" and added "in relation to you Mr Sheridan there was nothing untoward." Mr Coulson also stated that Mr Whitamore's services were used "across the industry, including the Guardian group." 

Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Coulson about payments made by News International  to Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman after their convictions for "phone hacking" Mr Coulson stated he was not invloved and that he had first heard of this at a house of commons select committee hearing at which he was giving evidence adding "the report is online, you probably have a copy" Mr Sheridan then produced a copy of the report, which was dated 04/07/2009 and read a section which appeared to confirm these payments had been made. Mr Coulson said "that is nothing to do with me Mr Sheridan" Mr Sheridan stated he was not suggesting that and Mr Coulson interrupted him saying "why are you asking me then."  Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge then intervened and instructed Mr Sheridan and Mr Coulson to "stop shouting over each other" Mr Sheridan asked the witness again if he believed these payments which he characterised as "paying convicted criminals to stay silent" were in the "public interest." Mr Coulson replied "why do you keep asking me, I am not being facetious but I can't help you." 
Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Coulson if he knew of a former NotW journalist, Sean Hoare and put it  to him that Mr Hoare had alleged that the witness had knowledge of voicemails acquired by NotW journalists. Mr Coulson told the court that he knew that this had been alleged and he had voluntarily spoken to the police over the issue. The witness also told the court that he was "confident" there was no evidence to support Mr Hoare's allegation. Mr Coulson then stated  that "given the job I do now I felt it was the proper thing to do," and that he had been interviewed by the police "about 6 weeks ago." Mr Sheridan then asked about the NotW's relationship with the police and asked if the witness was familiar with an Andy Hayman. Mr Coulson told the court that Andy Hayman had been the assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police and sometimes wrote for the Times. Mr Sheridan asked if Mr Hayman had been in charge of the investigation into "phone hacking at the News of the World" the witness replied "he may have been" 

Mr Coulson told the court he once had a meal with Mr Hayman but their relationship was "entirely proper" and he thought that "every editor on Fleet Street" had done the same. Mr Sheridan asked if the NotW held any information on Mr Hayman that could have been used to intimidate him into not carrying out a proper investigation. Mr Coulson denied the NotW held any personal information on Mr Hayman. Mr Sheridan then reminded Mr Coulson that he was "under oath" the witness replied "I know, the answer is no" Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if he there were any emails between him and Clive Goodman, the former Royal editor of the NotW. Mr Coulson replied, "yes he was a reporter on the paper" Mr Sheridan asked if Mr Coulson had emailed Mr Goodman asking him to "take the blame for the good of the paper" Mr Coulson responded "No, I'm positive, do you have that email Mr Sheridan?" Mr Sheridan responded "Mr Goodman has been cited perhaps we will hear from him" The court then rose for lunch.

When the trial recommenced Mr Sheridan returned to the subject of Andy Hayman the former assistant police commissioner, and asked Mr Coulson if he was aware that at the time of the investigation into alleged phone hacking at the News of the World Mr Hayman had resigned from the police force, the witness replied "he may have" Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Coulson if he was aware of what Mr Hayman was doing now. The witness replied that Mr Hayman "writes occasional  pieces for the Times," which he agreed was part of the same newspaper group as the News of the World. Mr Sheridan then asked  "The former police officer who investigated the News  of the World got a job with News International?" Mr Coulson replied :"if you are insinuating there was a deal, there was none." Mr Sheridan responded "just answer the question, he got a job with News International" to which the witness replied "Yes, but first I don't know if he has a job or is a freelance and second it happened long after I left so I can't help you." Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that this "stinks of corruption" Mr Coulson replied "I absolutely disagree Mr Sheridan" 

Mr Sheridan then produced into evidence a copy of a page from a notebook, that the court has previously heard was seized by police on a raid on the home of private investigator, and convicted phone hacker, Glenn Mulcaire. This shows Mr Sheridan's name, address, telephone number and what appear to be "PIN" numbers for accessing mobile phone voicemails. There is also a date on the notebook, 14/09/04. Mr Coulson denied that he had any knowledge of this or that the News of the World in London and instructed Glenn Mulcaire to "hack" Mr Sheridan's phone. Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that Mr  Mulcaire had an "exclusive contract" with the NotW but again Mr Coulson denied any knowledge of the matter.

Mr Sheridan ended his evidence in chief by putting it to Mr Coulson that "his paper" had been involved in "illegal actions to do me in" Mr Coulson said that this was  true in "the parallel universe that exists only in your mind" Mr Sheridan responded that "in your parallel universe we are asked to accept that in four years of your Royal correspondent tapping phones you never noticed"  and asked Mr Coulson if he was "incompetent" the witness replied "that was for others to judge" adding that "he had taken responsibility and resigned from his job" Mr Sheridan asked if Mr Coulson now worked "beside the Prime Minister" to which Mr Coulson replied "I work with him, for him" Mr Sheridan said that he hoped that the witness had "his eye more on the ball" than he did as editor of the News of the World, adding "your paper printed unfounded lies." Mr Coulson replied "I don't believe we printed lies. With that Mr Sheridan ended his examination and returned to his seat in the dock.

The Advocate Depute, Alex Prentice QC then rose to cross-examine Mr Coulson. Mr Prentice asked the witness about the "McNeilage tape" (see Here ) and what steps he had taken to "verify it."  Mr Coulson stated that he had told Bob Bird, the Scottish editor of the paper, to "make every effort to do so." asked where he had obtained samples of Mr Sheridan's voice to compare it to the voice on the video, Mr Coulson replied "we didn't have to try very hard"  explaining that Tommy Sheridan had often been on Television and radio. The Advocate Depute then returned to his chair.

Mr Sheridan then briefly re-examined the witness asking him if he his face was seen on the video, to which Mr Coulson replied there was a "fleeting glance" Mr Sheridan then asked "if I was not on your radar how did you know my voice" Mr Coulson responded that it was up to "the people in court to make a judgement" Mr Sheridan then said "You don't need to wink at me" to which Mr Coulson replied "I'm not winking but it is your voice. Mr Sheridan then returned to his seat and Mr Coulson was allowed to step down from the stand.


Watcher said...

I was in court today and thought that many people missed the point. I don't think that anyone expected Andy Coulson to fold like a child and scream "I did it, it was me, slap the bracelets on me" however what did happen was that many things were establised in evidence, which to us old legal beagles is sort of the point of witnesses.

We are now asked to believe that Greg Mulcaire had Sheridan's details in his notebook, but despite the fact he had an "exclusive" contract with the News of the World neither the Scottish editor or the National editor asked him to do this. We will now here from Mr Mulcaire who did give him those details, and unless he stated that he just got it into his head to write down Sheridan's phone number someone may well be shown to have lied on the stand.

A trial is not a football match or a poularity contest, it is about evidence and Mr Sheridan got a lot of at today from Mr Coulson.

Little Miss Muffet said...

Do they clear the snow and ice away from outside the Court, James. I haven't seen anyone fall on their arse yet.

Eeyore said...

I thought calling Andy Coulson was supposed to help tommy's defence.

Anonymous said...

aye, if you look carefully there is a "fleeting glance" of a face, TS?, you can also see the back of a guy getting into an armchair, you can see hind hand hanging over the edge and a clearly see a ring on his right hand, so it is more than just a voice recording, of course it could be a "look-a-like actor", but that is for the jury to decide.

Anonymous said...

James Doleman has a better than excellent report on the case up to date. The court now seems to be full of amateur jurnalists, spposed experts, what a load of crap. THERE IS ONLY ONE MAN BLOGGING WITH THE TRUE FACTS,IE.dOLEMAN.

Anonymous said...

so what if they bugged everyones phone. it still doesnt prove ts is innocent

Whatsy said...

From my angle in court I could only see Coulson's left eye, but it definitely winked.

Anyone have a view of his right eye to say if what I saw was merely half of a blink?

Anonymous said...

The wink was probably done to annoy TS or to say, we know it was you.

anyone else think that?

Anonymous said...

I think there is a misunderstanding here. It is Glenn
Mulcaire and not Greg. This is significant because the 'Greg' in Mulcaire's notebook was alleged or implied by TS to possibly be Greg Miskiw of the NOTW - an executive who was in charge of the contract with Mulcaire. TS had earlier established that Coulson had appointed Miskiw. the point seemed to be that this showed that NOTW in London had been centrally involved in trying to hack TS's phone in 2004. This contradicted Coulson's assertion that TS had not 'crossed the radar' of NOTW in London until 2006.

Thus, the point, as I understood it, of TS seemingly long winded examination of AC was to get him to confirm various things which TS could then undermine with the production of Mulcaire's notebook. Presumably the point was also to show that AC was not a reliable witness and therefore that his other statements about his repeated lack of memory or knowledge might be doubted.

Similarly, when TS asked if NOTW was an anti Trade Union paper and Coulson said 'no' - to a burst if hilarity in the public gallery - this was not so much TS 'showboating' as getting AC to make manifestly daft statements and presumably hope that this would undermine the credibility of the witness. No?

Anonymous said...

He most definately winked!

Whatsy said...

I think The Wink was definitely done to annoy - as a parting shot.

"it's your voice and I think you know it" >wink<

Almost like AC was saying "Gotcha!", if I can borrow the phrase from another NewsCorp title.

General Belgrano said...

Gotcha! - you talking about the Scum?

Anonymous said...

good line Whatsy:) need a laugh after that!

Anonymous said...

It would be even better if TS could call "Dave" Cameron in, or maybe pull Tony Blair up about his alleged "war crimes", surely there must be some connection to these proceedings.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see that old fooker Thatcher take the stand.

Rolo Tomasi said...

@ Watcher

Still not getting it, I'm afraid. Even if 2 "NOTW" witnesses contradict one another, so what? The evidence of neither has formed any part of the Crown case, so essentially the defence will have called 2 hostile witnesses, just to set them up and knock them down against one another. Coulson and Mulcaire, Goodman, Peter Parker and Clark Kent could all be called and end up contradicting one another about anything and everything, as guests of the defence. And the point is...?

Does it rebut anything to do with the Crown case, i.e. the allegation that TS and GS lied in court? I don't see how it does. What is it these guys are meant to have "witnessed"? Were they at the SSP "confession" Exec meeting? Were they at Cupids? Were they playing Scrabble with TS and GS on the nights in question? All the Coulson stuff is so remote from the facts at issue as to be irrelevant - pure obfuscation.

This seems to have been a bit of an own goal for the defence, as a fairly smooth operator has been allowed to say "my paper wasn't out to destroy you", and "that was you on the tape" more than once in front of the jury.

Eeyore said...

That was bad for Sheridan. This was supposed to be his explosive day in court.

Jamesie Cotter Esq. Govan said...

Who's next in this line of relevant Defence witnesses?

Milo Minderbinder?

'What's good for Milo Minderbinder, is good for the country'

Heller, 'Catch 22'

Jessica Fletcher said...

Anon said...
"It would be even better if TS could call "Dave" Cameron in, or maybe pull Tony Blair up about his alleged "war crimes", surely there must be some connection to these proceedings."

Anon said...
"I would like to see that old fooker Thatcher take the stand."

Is Pinochet still alive?

On a more serious note. You can see what TS was attempting here and it might have been somewhat successful. On the other hand it might have come across as a little desperate.

It looks like the defence might take a little longer than some had guessed. Although I might be wrong.

Eeyore said...

I think it might be back to the drawing board this weekend.

Jessica Fletcher said...

"This seems to have been a bit of an own goal for the defence, as a fairly smooth operator has been allowed to say "my paper wasn't out to destroy you", and "that was you on the tape" more than once in front of the jury."

I don't know if it was a total own goal but that's similar to what I was thinking. From what's been written in the accounts here and in the press, and TV, Coulson comes across as quite confident of the tapes authenticity.

Anonymous said...

agreed Jessica, desperate chest thumping. TS Ego trip. His style of bombarding bullying questions are not going to work on guys like this.

Sceptic said...

He paid 200k for it so, to coin a phrase, he would say that would't he.

War and Peace said...

@ Jessica Fletcher.
Re your request in an earlier post concerning long winded posts from a frequent source . Someone suggested skim reading for any new points. Tried it and it works.

Jessica Fletcher said...

Sceptic said...
"He paid 200k for it so, to coin a phrase, he would say that would't he."

He would say that even if he had been given it for free. There isn't any doubt that he is expected to say he thought it was genuine.

He seems to have said it quite confidently though. In front of the jury. Even adding in a cheeky little wink.

The accounts I've read haven't gone into much detail on the shouting match that seemed to be going on.

Can anyone comment on Coulsons composure etc. Did he seem confident about the tape, or was he havering all over the place?

Sceptic said...

"e would say that even if he had been given it for free."

How could you possibly know that Jessica, the phrase parallel universe springs to mind

Jessica Fletcher said...

Sceptic said...
"How could you possibly know that Jessica"

He let it run in the paper he headed at the time, and the same paper is sticking by it today.

Did you think there was a chance he would come up and say, "Well actually, now that you come to mention it Mr Sheridan, I didn't really think it was you on the tape".

The phrase, "let's keep things civil" springs to mind Septic.

Bunc said...

This all seems completely pointless.

Even if TS did manage to establish that the NOTW bugged phones this simply establishes that they will go to any lengths to find evidence of misbehaviour in people they may be targeting. Saythat again slowly - they will got to any lengths to find EVIDENCE OF MISBEHAVIOUR.

The point bears repeating - why do that if they are quite happy to simply create evidence or buy created evidence.

In my view TS is merely risking establishing that the NOTW was trying ( and allegedly succeeding) in finding what they believed was REAL evidence of dirt on TS.

TS is so busy grandstanding he obviousy doesn't understand this risk.

Jessica Fletcher said...

He did manage to mention possible police corruption, in connection with the NoTW. Which the jury might ponder on.

Whether or not that manages to discredit the key points is anyone's guess I suppose.

Witnesses to a confession.
Witnesses to Sheridan attending a sex club.
Witnessing claiming to have had an affair with Sheridan.
Witnesses saying they saw Sheridan with the women at times he shouldn't have been.
The tape.

I've missed a few bits out there. It's all horribly difficult to keep track of the evidence against him.

Apart from witnesses saying he didn't make a confession, he seems to have little in the way of anything solid to discrediting the other evidence. Criminal records, paying for court expenses, and political rivalry doesn't really cut it for me.

Victor English said...

This blog is becoming increasingly polluted by partisan posters, expressing views that are based on nothing but wishful thinking. It is getting hard to follow. The Peter guy, with his constant posting of his every thought, puts me off reading it.

This was a significant point of the trial and, it has to be said, that Mr Sheridan continues to surprise me.

During his cross-examination of prosecution witnesses I had thought that he was doing very well, but also believed that the amount of threads he was weaving had meant that was just batting freely.

However, his defence so far has shown a path through these threads which shows an incredible grasp of the job for an amateur, and a very real strategy and narrative.

He did remarkably well against Coulson and it should be compared to Prentice's failed attempts to do the same to the Ms Byrne. Once again he has riled a witness into acting like an arrogant child, while at the same time establishing points in court, many of those points left unchallenged and uncontested, therefore heading straight into his summation.

He certainly helped create a sense of doubt about the NoW witnesses. Who could believe that none of them knew what was going on yet still paid out hundreds of thousands of pounds for the service?

Sheridan couldn't lose by calling Mr Coulson. The former Editor could not offer new evidence lest it opened up new avenues for the defence so Sheridan could either come away no worse than when he started or add to the impression of the NoW being shady.

Anyone who thinks that is not important is either not following the trial or has their head buried in the sand.

My take on the remaining charge against Mrs Sheridan is that we will not here from McBride, so I had feared that Mr Sheridan might lack the skills to beat the Crown on his own. I am starting ti think that I was very wrong.

Sheridan's strategy looks like it has a very clear path to me from here and I would no longer be surprised if I turn out to be correct.

keith79 said...

Mr Coulson spent quite a long time in the witness box giving evidence about what he did and din't know about the News of the World bugging people. He was also on oath to tell the truth. This could be the only opportunity anyone has of asking him these questions in a court of law. That is reason enough for me to support Tommy's line of questions. Was it relevant? The judge thought so otherwise he would have stopped it.

If Tommy shows that Mr Coulson has committed perjury then he will have provided us all with a service.

The tape was only a small part of what happened yesterday.

The wink, in my opinion, came from a man who thinks he's above prosecution. No doubt fueled by yesterday's announcement from the Met.

iain brown said...

Seems(unsurprisingly) that the already decided are out in numbers.In effect they are asking what Coulson has to do with the price of mince?. £200 k perhaps?.By now i thought this was glaringly obvious to all but a one sided bigot."none so blind as those who will not see" springs to mind. Looking forward to again being denounced as an"SWP(esque) robot or similar.LOL.

Obfuscator said...

@ iain brown - £200,000 that GMcN was paid for the tape or the £200,000 that TS obtained from the NotW? Besides, whatever McN was or was not paid for the tape is irrelavant, Thatcher could paid McN a £1million for it and it wouldn't make a one jot of difference. What matter is: is the tape genuine? Is that TS voice/face that can be seen on the tape. And btw I am guessing that YOU have already made YOUR mind up?

Anonymous said...

@ aye victor english sheridan is is indeed playing a clear strategy in my opinion to hoodwink the lot of us, but will he pull it off is anyone's guess.

Rolo Tomasi said...

My view is not a political one, it is an evidential one: I just don't get the excitement over what TS may or may not have wrung out of this hostile witness. It is not Coulson who is on trial here, nor his fomer paper or employer - it is TS and GS. The things C was being questioned on might tell us more about his newsgathering operation, and it ain't pretty, but are irrelevant to the Crown's case. (The judge allowed the questioning to go on I imagine because latitude is given in cross-examination, which is what this was, to explore any avenue, almost however tangential, to try and raise a reasonable doubt.)

If the narrative being woven is that the NOTW was behind a vast right wing conspiracy to destroy TS, then even after all the grilling of the NOTW solicitor, Bird and Coulson, I have not smelled any smoking gun. Lifting a lid on tabloid practices does not prove a conspiracy to destroy.

And even if it did, nobody forced TS or GS into court in 2006, which is the locus of the alleged offences: if a crime occurred, that was the scene of it. Nobody forced TS and GS to say the things they did in court. The NOTW could not have anticipated such a turn of events as we are now seeing, however accomplished they may be as the darkest of dark artists.

And to be sort of political for a moment, bluntly, I don't think in the NOTW's eyes TS would have been important enough to warrant such a proactive conspiracy. I think the story came to them, as do hundreds each week, and they went with it opportunistically as they do - as with David Mellor (Tory), Sophie Rhys Jones (Royal) or John Terry (England captain).

iain brown said...

OMG, Obfuscator. Have you had a humour bypass.I was being fascetious.My point was not about the tape,but the relevance of Coulson. re. the defence case which you appear either unaware or fail to comprehend.Got it now? Also there is the wee matter of McNeillage actually getting his £200k (which apparently has been blown) and Sheridan who to date has not received a single bawbee.As to myself having already made up my mind,read my earlier posts. I am a "dont know" who presumes the Sheridans innocent until otherwise proven conclusively guilty beyond reasonable doubt. But i suspect that concept will be to difficult for your head to get round

Critical-eye said...

No one has yet considered the timeline for production if the tape is fake.

It is not plausible that the tape was faked on the date on the tape (18/11/04), as there is no reason why McN would go to all the trouble of having the tape faked and not use it.

TS has alleged it was faked in 2006, but Bob Bird has testified that McN phoned him "about a week" after the end of the libel case, and TS has not contested that date. The tape would not have been forged before the libel verdict, as I believe it was widely expected that TS would lose. Could a decision be made to fake a tape, have it cleverly scripted, and have TS's voice simulated by an actor or by a cut and splice job within a week? McN is probably going to need two collaborators for this, a sciptwriter and someone to do the voice. IMO only someone who has not addressed the difficulty of all these tasks could think the tape could be produced within this timescale.

A final point - if you have gone to all the trouble of faking the tape, why do you amateurishly delete the last ten minutes?

Sceptic said...

Rolo, Tommy Sheridan is stating that he has been framed by the News of the World for a crime he claims he did not commit.

How anyone could seriously argue that questioning the editor of that paper at the time of the incident is "irrelevent" utterly baffles me and shows a deep lack of understanding of anything other than the Crown case.


The Bamboozler said...

Spectic - how can the NotW frame someone for committing Perjury at a Defamation Action? You are either telling lies under oath or you are not.

Sceptic said...

The defence argue that the News of the World have paid witnesses to give false testimony and "concocted" a video tape of Sheridan confessing.

I'm not arguing you have to agree ot is true, but if that is your defence I think evidence about the newpaper involved is highly relevant.

Anonymous said...

@ Sceptic Why go to the bother, risk and expense of bugging phones, snooping around etc. when all you have to make something up? Something just doesn't add up.

Rolo Tomasi said...

@ Sceptic

"Rolo, Tommy Sheridan is stating that he has been framed by the News of the World for a crime he claims he did not commit."

Thanks, I get it. The alleged "crime" though, let's remember, is telling lies in the witness box in an Edinburgh court in 2006. The paper's story in 2004 was an alleged "scandal", maybe, but not a crime.

Is it being suggested that the "framing" exercise involved a) printing false stories, in order that b) a defamation action would be launched, so that c) TS and GS would say certain things in the witness box 2 years later, whereby d)a large amount of contradictory evidence could be drawn from a disparate range of sources, sufficient for a criminal prosecution?

That's some plan, and some job executing it.

Of course I can see the relevance of the NOTW to the whole back story, but not to forensically rebutting the Crown's case in anything other than these fantastical, conspiratorial terms. And as it seems to have played out, it doesn't seem to have done much but give C a platform to repeat with some confidence his views that the stories and tape were true, and that his paper was not out to get TS.

Smoke and Mirrors said...

Has there ever been an occasion where the NotW has been exposed as purposely, knowingly and deliberately fitting up an innocent party through "concocted" tape evidence? If so, TS should certainly call them.

Avid Reader said...

Ian Brown and Sceptic.

Thanks for a blast of common sense.

It seems to me, as a non legal person, that:

The defamation case was about NotW stories. If Sheridan can show that these stories were untrue, surely he can then claim he was telling the truth during that case. Then his perjury charges would fall.

So the NotW and its staff are central to the case, to enable him to persuade the jury the stories were untrue.

Watcher said...

For those who think Mr Coulson hd a good day in court yesterday, as someone who was there I think the Independent nails it

"A stench of disbelief"

Anonymous said...

@ Avid Reader - this has got nothing to do with the veracity or otherwise of the NotW stories; very specific allegations have been made against the Sheridans, namely that they lied on Oath.

Sceptic said...

Anon, they are charge with lying on oath about articles published by the News of the World.

There really is no getting through to some people.

Anonymous said...

@ Sceptic - the articles published by the NotW resulted in TS taking out a Defamation Action in which the Jury found against the NotW; we have already had that trial. This trial concerns matter of Perjury. It has nothing to do, repeat nothing to do, with the veracity or otherwise of ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN THE NOTW!

yulefae said...

Rolo Tomasi said...
@ Sceptic

"Rolo, Tommy Sheridan is stating that he has been framed by the News of the World for a crime he claims he did not commit."

Thanks, I get it. The alleged "crime" though, let's remember, is telling lies in the witness box in an Edinburgh court in 2006. The paper's story in 2004 was an alleged "scandal", maybe, but not a crime.

Is it being suggested that the "framing" exercise involved a) printing false stories, in order that b) a defamation action would be launched, so that c) TS and GS would say certain things in the witness box 2 years later, whereby d)a large amount of contradictory evidence could be drawn from a disparate range of sources, sufficient for a criminal prosecution?

That's some plan, and some job executing it.

Of course I can see the relevance of the NOTW to the whole back story, but not to forensically rebutting the Crown's case in anything other than these fantastical, conspiratorial terms. And as it seems to have played out, it doesn't seem to have done much but give C a platform to repeat with some confidence his views that the stories and tape were true, and that his paper was not out to get TS.

Explain why the crown called the editor of the NOTW

Anonymous said...

@ Yulefae, Bob Bird's testimony is on this blog, that should give you an idea as to why the Crown call the editor of the NotW.

The Shrink said...

Victor English...

- thanks for that comment. Very helpful. And I agree - AC's appearance in court is really bringing the detritus to the surface of this blog.

I though TS simply showed today that the AC (when at the NoTW):

1. was willing to pay thousands,
2. out of a budget of tens-of-millions
3. to people he was barely involved with,
4. for stories he "couldn't possibly check"

yulefae said...

Anon i dont need to read his evidence i watched him waffle in the boax,an uncredible witness,my point being there was no need to call him,unless as the crown see it they are scraping the barrel....literaly,as the Shrink said why pay thousands if these people want to launder their washing in public?surely they would have done it for free ffs,not needing chaperoned,new contracts,holidays,need i go on.

As i have said many times,the NOTW LOST FAIR AND SQUARE,then up pops a tape,you could,nt make it up,no tape no case,no payments no case no holidays no case,Get A LIFE,and if your a BOB BIRD FAN ask Jackie

Hamish said...

What is not in doubt and has been emphasised again in this trial is the huge animosity which arose in the Scottish Socialist movement over the personality of Tommy Sheridan.
Long before the newspaper stories appeared, there were those who disapproved of what they regarded as a personality cult. Noone with a tan like that should be leader of a Socialist party!
It rings hollow when some say it came as a complete shock when Tommy admitted at the infamous meeting that he was indeed the MSP at the centre of the NOTW stories.
Of course he was. Not the same thing as admitting they were true.
For me the saddest thing about all of this is the near collapse of radical left-wing politics in Scotland. Six seats at Holyrood turned into zero. Neither the remaining SSP nor the new Solidarity command any significant support.
Some of the comments on this blog are becoming increasingly partisan.
Perhaps the Anonymous posters in particular might at least indicate their party affiliation (SSP, Solidarity, Labour, ..)
I'm SNP.

Peter said...

Mr Coulson claims no knowledge of such activities in relation to Sheridan and others and certainly that he played no part in authorising such activity.

The defence and many MPs consider it unlikely that Coulson did not know of illegal activities at the NOTW (and the use of various privates agents by journalists at the NOTW) as he was the Editor.

The important matter to note is that the only possible sanction that Mr Coulson faced - before this trial - was the possibility of Contempt of Parliament if he had not been truthful to the HofC select committee.

That is an extremely rarely used sanction and whilst an offence it now as I understand it only carries a civil sanction of a fine.

If were to be found in Contempt of Parliament Coulson would of course have lost his job at Number 10 of course but no doubt he could have picked up work elsewhere - maybe with a well known media organisation.

As we now know from national media reports that the CPS (for now at least) has not taken forward an investigation as various potential witnesses who had made allegations have now (allegedly) refused to give statements to the Met.

Now for the first time Coulson has has given evidence on oath.

If it is shown at any point in this trial (or in the future) that Coulson knew of any the illegal activity that he has denied then further investigations could well follow.

If Sheridan is found guilty and such evidence emerges then a serious matter is made much worse.

According to the national media reports the possibility of investigation remains despite the CPS decision.

If various celebrities stop accepting large compromise offers (such as that Gordon Taylor of the PFA) and pursue the matter through the civil courts then disclosure rules will apply directly again to these matters of bugging, tapping etc.

The most likely to pursue that are anti-Murdoch politicians.

If Coulson is in the woods (and he may not be of course)he is therefore not quite out of them yet despite the CPS closing down the criminal investigation for now - as they did once before.

A weeks is a long time in court and politics.

Ca ching said...

Is Mr Coulson in trouble?

Observer said...

I wonder what possible advantage it was for the defence to call Coulson as a witness? Highlighting the NoTW's underhand methods in gathering information is all good and well but unfortunately it isn't they who are on trial. And if they did collect information in that way, it was presumably used to piece together the story? If the story is true then how it was verified isn't going to matter particularly. At least for the purposes of this trial it isn't

Observer said...

Ca ching, what legal fees would Coulson have? he's only a witness.

Observer said...

Ca Ching - Just ignore previous. I see now that he took advice.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Observer, in my opinion TS is effectively saying that if a story is obtained by "illegal means" (even if true)? it should be declared null and void. It's kind of like arguing for some kind of retrospective "right to privacy".

Anonymous said...

Say the NotW presented evidence obtained by a NotW journalist camping under the Sheridans marital bed. You could argue that it was obtained through "illegal means" but the evidence would still stand in it's own right.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion if the NotW had been involved in this video at the time of production they would have set things up properly for McN, this video has got "amateur" stamped all over it.