Day 44 of the trial of HM Advocate v Sheridan and Sheridan saw the end of Tommy Sheridan's defence, the deletion of the remaining parts of the indictment relating to Gail Sheridan and Lord Bracadale announcing the timetable for the last week of the trial.
The final two witnesses to appear for the defence were Carol Allen and Gillian McFarlane. Ms Allen, Tommy Sheridan's sister, testified that she had been residing at Mr and Mrs Sheridan's house for a week in December 2000. Mrs Allen stated that she been there on the night of Thursday 14 December 2000. a date she remembered as Gail Sheridan had been on her way to a christmas night out and had seen Mr Sheridan return from football training. The 14th of December is the date that the prosecution have suggested Katrine Trolle visited Tommy Sheridan at his home. (see Here )
Gillian McFarlane, the wife of yesterday's witness Andrew McFarlane, testified that she had been at home with Mr McFarlane on the evening of the 27th September 2004. This is the night the Crown had alleged that Mr Sheridan, Mr McFarlane and others attended a "sex club in Manchester. In addition Mrs McFarlane also told the court about her recollection of Mr and Mrs Sheridan's home being raided by police in December 2007.
After the witnesses were heard from, Mr Sheridan then read the jury a "joint minute of agreement." Lord Bracadale, the judge presiding, explained to the jury that this showed evidence not presented to them but that both sides in the case agreed was true. It was therefore considered "proved." The joint minute had nine points, the main ones being that both Fiona McGuire and Glenn Mulcaire had been cited in the case but had produced medical certificates that stated they were not fit to attend court, that Andrew McFarlane had been operated on at Gartnavel General hospital on 20/08/2002 and had been certified as unfit to work by a medical centre on 26/09/2010, and that various phone numbers did belong to the people and organisations stated. With that Mr Sheridan formally ended his defence.
Lord Bracadale then called on Paul McBride QC to open his case for the defence in relation to the co-accused Gail Sheridan. Mr McBride rose and stated "we do not intend to lead any evidence." Lord Bracadale then called on Alex Prentice QC, the Advocate Depute. Mr Prentice told a packed court that "he would like to advise you and the jury of the position in relation to the second accused Gail Sheridan." He reminded the court that after the evidence of witness Matthew McColl (see Here) the Crown had dropped all of the charges relating to the "Moat House hotel" chapter of evidence. Mr Prentice went on to say that he had now had an opportunity to review the whole case and while he believed there was "sufficient evidence" to put before the jury he had concluded it was no longer "in the public interest to proceed" and he was "withdrawing the libel against Mrs Sheridan." The gallery then erupted in cheers and a clearly emotional Tommy and Gail Sheridan hugged each other in the dock.
Lord Bracadale then addressed the jury informing them that the decision to take or drop a prosecution was entirely in the hands of the Crown, he then said that under section 95 of the Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) act he was "acquitting the accused."
Lord Bracadale then told the jury he was adjourning until Monday adding that the timetable for next week would be the Advocate Depute summing up on Monday morning, Mr Sheridan summing up on Tuesday morning and that he himself would make his summing up on Wednesday. The court then rose until Monday
Outside the court Mrs Sheridan's lawyer made a short statement on her behalf to the waiting media, that can be viewed Here