Friday, December 17, 2010

Gail Sheridan Acquitted


At the conclusion of Mr Sheridan's defence case this morning the Advocate Depute rose to address the court. Alex Prentice QC stated that he had now had the opportunity to consider his position on the second accused. Gail Sheridan, and had decided that it was 'not in the public interest to proceed. To cheers from the public gallery the presiding judge then formally acquitted Mrs Sheridan.

Full report to follow

129 comments:

Law Law Lord said...

"acquitted" is slightly misleading. "No further proceedings will be taken against GS" would be more legally correct albeit more wordy.

WelldoneGail said...

Well done Gail. I hope all those tossers who slagged you off and took the mickey out of you are proud of themselves.

I wonder what crap the NoTW will dream up next? Maybe they'll ask their pals in the SSP for some ideas?

Anonymous said...

"public interest" where did AP get that phrase from, does he read this blog? lol

Anonymous said...

It's not really a surprise though, at least to avid readers of this excellent blog; it would come as no surprise if TS was "acquitted" of further charges too, we wait and see.

Bunc said...

Whatever the correct term, I think we could all see this coming given the approach the prosecution took to the case, which barely addressed the position re GS at all.

Also in terms of natural justice it's probably , in MHO , fairer to all concerned anyway that the jury are asked to focus their attention on the primary issue which is being contested - did TS lie or not?
The issue in respect of GS is a consequence of whether that is the case or not and wasn't ever a primary driver of the whole business.

Perhaps we may even hear the judge describe her as "fragrant" in his summing up?

Legally Challenged said...

However the wording this is very good news I do not think that even the most rabid anti T.S. bloggers would consider otherwise.
The fact that for the whole duration of the trial no evidence has been led in relation to Gail I believe this was to an obvious conclusion.

James Doleman said...

"Law Law Lord" Sorry but I'm not prepared to let that one go. Lord Bracadale said to the court he was "formally Acquitting" Mrs Sheridan and I would suggest that you do not accuse me of being inaccurate unless you have a foundation to.

Best Regards

James

Anonymous said...

The cynic in me thinks the AD reckons there's more chance of a conviction against TS if his wife isn't also facing a prison sentence.

Just before Christmas. Child without parents. Could swing a wavering juror.

Anonymous said...

The reference to her "circumstances" woukld suggest you may be right, fellow anonymous at 1.58.

paw said...

Gail Sheridan Acquitted

This comes as no surprise to regular readers of this blog. Barely any evidence has been presented against her.

Keep up the good, detailed and usually very accurate work, James.

Nothing shocks me any more said...

A highly significant development - one wonders what the jury will make of all this as they see charges dropped and now one of the two accused being acquitted.

I suspect the verdict will arrive quite quickly - then everyone can move on to think about enjoying Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Doe GS have to leave the dock now, or can she stay on to "support" her husband? We need all the seats we can!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:58 - in my opinion it is very unlikely that GS would have received a custodial sentence if she had been found guilty, but I agree in the wider scheme of things although GS will obviously be over the moon?, it has done TS no favours.

Bobby said...

@ Paw 2.04

Agreed. This wasn't surprising.

As earlier posters mentioned when earlier parts of the indictment were dropped against TS, this was more than likely a part of the crown's strategy to keep up the pressure on them both until the last moment. Correct me if I am wrong, but it has also stopped GS appearing as a witness for TS (as she did in 2006, to great effect).

I think it's been clear all along who the crown have been pursuing. Some might see this as a weakness in the Crown's case. Others will see it as a strategic move to ensure a conviction. To me, this makes TS chances of getting off with it less, not more likely.

Tambo said...

It would be foolhardy indeed for people to think that the charges against Gail being dropped gives any indication that the main charges against Tommy will follow.

Watcher said...

I must say some of the spin from the anti-sheridan brigade is getting desperate. I think anyone who was in court today and saw the faces of the crown lawyers when the charges were dropped will laugh at the idea that this was a bad day for Mr Sheridan.

May I add, on a personal note, whatever the rights and wrongs of the case there was a tear in this old eye seeing Gail leave the dock. A wonderful day.

alimcl24 said...

I am watching and reading about the trial from afar (Mexico) but this fine blog keeps me in the loop.

I,ve always felt that the NOTW etc have had a vendetta against the Sheridans. What is sadder is all his old friends and colleagues scurrying to clype or lie about their former friend.

I doubt we will see any great political influence from the far left in a while.

Law Law Lord said...

My most sincere apologises, James. One appears to have been overcome with an acute case of "legal pedanticisis".

Bunc said...

It removes Paul McBride from being able to make any kind of closing statement. It leaves a straight fight between the TS evidence and summation and the prosecution evidence and summation.

Bobby said...

@ WelldoneGail

I'm a little surprised by your statement. I am no defender of NotW (far from it) but I can't recall the paper making allegations about GS. Nor anyone in the SSP. Indeed, I can't recall any comments on here which personally slagged off GS. Please quote me some, if you can. I even remember reading George McNeillage saying he felt sorry for her.

But I am guessing from your position anyone who thinks TS and GS are guilty are 'tossers'. If that's the case, I'm happy to call myself one.

Quiz man said...

Does this mean any of the charges Tommy is facing that were related to the charges Gail was facing now be dropped??

Anonymous said...

The indicator that this was going to happen in my opinion was P McB (apparent) lack of interest, or not as the case may be, in the proceedings.

Legally Challenged said...

Anonymous said...
The cynic in me thinks the AD reckons there's more chance of a conviction against TS if his wife isn't also facing a prison sentence.

Just before Christmas. Child without parents. Could swing a wavering juror.

December 17, 2010 1:58 PM

Iam sure that AP would have been fully aware of the time scale of this trial and the proposed conclusion would be as you say just before Chritsmas, if what you suggest is true why would AP simply not drop charges earlier,and concentrate on the other defendant.
As others can see there has been no evidence led in regard to Gail it might be concluded that the charge in relation to Gail was used as a pressure point relation to T.S.
IMO some of the mechanisms used by the Crown in this regard could considered punative.

Steve said...

Did AP give reasons why it was not in the public interest to proceed against GS?

"Not in the public interest" seems a little vaguer than the "sufficiency of evidence" grounds given before for reducing the charge sheet, but only those in court heard the full story.

Eraserhead said...

I think most people here could see that the charges against Gail were unsustainable, yet the Crown chose to take it to the brink before dismissing the case against her.

The only winners here are McBride and his underlings, who will be laughing all the way to the bank when they collect their fees.

We are celebrating the dismissal of a case that should never have been brought in the first place.

This has been a scandalous waste of court time and public money.

Anonymous said...

@ Steve - "not in the public interest" could simply mean that it was MORE in the public interest to pursue a Conviction against TS IMO.

marvinfaetheaccused said...

This is not surprising. tend to agree with above comments that it is a tactical move as
1. it stopped a bravura performance from the witness stand.
2. It removed Mr McBride (who was on Politics Scotland live last night debating football with henry McLeish)
3. It kept the pressure on the accused.
4. It removes an emotional impediment to the chances of a conviction against the accused.

Anonymous said...

I see your point Bunc, we would have had AP giving a closing speech for the Prosecution and then TWO closing speeches for the Defence from P McB and TS, I think I can see where AP is coming from, or not.

Anonymous said...

Gillian McFarlane must be wondering what she's just done.

Anonymous said...

yes, marvinfaethescheme, in my opinion P McB does reflate very well to ordinary folk, no posh clipped public-school accent from P McB like a lot of advocates, he sounds more "working-class" than a lot of "working-class" people and in my opinion comes across as very down-to-earth. I say this without knowing his background - P McB could have been educated at some posh public school for all I know.

Anonymous said...

Mr McBride agreed that there had been a sufficiency of evidence led against Gail...can no Sheridan supporters see that this is Tommy being cut adrift, to stand alone in the face of the weight of evidence?

Whatsy said...

@Bobby
Re: "As earlier posters mentioned when earlier parts of the indictment were dropped against TS, this was more than likely a part of the crown's strategy to keep up the pressure on them both until the last moment. Correct me if I am wrong, but it has also stopped GS appearing as a witness for TS (as she did in 2006, to great effect).

I think it's been clear all along who the crown have been pursuing. Some might see this as a weakness in the Crown's case. Others will see it as a strategic move to ensure a conviction. To me, this makes TS chances of getting off with it less, not more likely.
"

I think that makes a lot of sense.

Whatsy said...

Generally, I think Gail (finally) not facing charges is best for almost all concerned.

Probably the one loser is the taxpayer, who has funded Gail's defence all this time.

marvinfaethescheme said...

STV report crown sum up on monday; accused tuesday; direction and verdict probably wednesday

Bunc said...

On a side note -
Whatever the views of people who have commented here there has been some very interestng debate.

This blog was established for a specifc purpose and with the close of the trial the focus on that specific situation ends.

Sadly not many here have identified themselves let alone given us links to their own blogs and their own thoughts on this and other issues.

For my own part and whatever "side" you may be on and whatever your political views can I say that any of you are always welcome to visit me at my blog in the future and leave comments if you find anything of interest.

Hopefully one or two of you may even consider taking up blogging yourselves. It's so much more satisfying than that tweety stuff or that facebook "now Im making toast" crap.

Ive blogged for a long time using a fairly "all purpose " personal blog. This blog is a truly excellent example of different approach - a specialised single purpose blog and great credit is due to James for the exceptional way this blog has both reported the case and handled the comments.

Anonymous said...

Iagree that these where the AD tacticts if not from the start from quite early on
I can understand the tactics but in this instance i think they may backfire,as i have mentioned on earlier comments, there will be certain members on this Glasgow based jury who will only looking for an excuse to aquit TS
And im afraid the AD has only opened the floodgates

Gunboat diplomat said...

Well I've got to say this really surprised me - surely this weakens the prosecution case against TS? I don't necessarily mean in a technical legal sense but in the minds of the jury?

I found the initial prosecution case quite convincing but I must say the defence has been quite convincing too.

However for me the issue is still THE TAPE.

This is the only piece of tangible evidence the prosecution has - the other evidence being conflicting testimony and at this stage I don't know who to believe.

I'd imagine the jury would have a clear idea themselves whether or not its TS voice on the tape. They've been listening to him talk at length nearly every day for many weeks and the tape itself is fairly lengthy.

So perosnally I'm someone whos gone from pretty sure he was guilty to thinking theres a significant doubt over that guilt over the course of the trial.

Legal Steven Seagal said...

Does this mean that the jury must now consider that the Crown accepts that the things Gail said which were supposed to be lies are in fact true? (ie where she was with TS at what time, etc). Most of these were 'Moat House' charges but there remains the 'phoning Cupids' charge. Would TS be entitled in his summing up to refer to these as newly accepted true facts by both sides?

Anonymous said...

Not at all, Legal Steven Seagal, AP has conceded nothing of the sort.

Legal Steven Seagal said...

Again, you need to put yourself in the minds of a jury member who probably has no connection to left politics and may not know very much about TS. Not being an expert on audio tape, could you say to yourself that you were sure *beyond reasonable doubt* that the voice on the tape is TS - especially when there are numerous witnesses who have known him for decades who have expressed conflicting views on the matter? Listening to him over the course of the trial could allow you to be fairly sure one way or the other, but that is not enough to satisfy the necessary standard of proof.

I would find it very difficult to make that call. The absence of corroborating scientific analysis might be the fatal flaw in the Crown's case.

Legal Steven Seagal said...

"AP has conceded nothing of the sort."

You are innocent until proven guilty, right?
The AP has accepted that Gail is innocent if charges have been dropped - right? (at least in a legal sense?)
That means, in a perjury trial, AP accepts that Gail told the truth in court - no?
Tell me what I am missing here.

Legally Challenged said...

Bunc
I suppose there will be others like myself have never blogged I was directed to this blog as I have an interest in this issue.
I do concur given my lack of experience in blogging, that James has carried out a tremendously good report on this trial.
Well done James and Whatsy for their efforts.

Anonymous said...

Even P McB accepted that there was "Sufficiency of Evidence" for the charges to be put to the Jury; from GS's point of view it would have been better if there has been "no case to answer" - but there was. AP simple stated that it was "not in the public interest" to continue with proceedings against GS, and therefore GS was "formally acquitted" by Lord Bracadale. Simple really IMO.

Whatsy said...

When the Colin Fox Subornation charge was dropped, Prentice was very careful to state that this was due to lack of corroboration, and that no negative inference should be drawn about Mr Fox's testimony, and that it still stood.

Curiously, yesterday during the Lynn Sheridan evidence in chief, it was as if Tommy was still trying to establish reasonable doubt against the subornation charge that had already been dropped.

I'm assuming because Gail Sheridan has not given any evidence, her acquittal is legally irrelevant to the case against her husband. Not sure about that, though.

Tambo said...

No, it doesn't necessarily mean that, it just means that they now consider a prosecution is not in the public interest. It does not at all mean that Gail is the pinnacle of honesty, just like charges being dropped against Tommy does not mean that those who gave evidence in relation to them are automatically lying. It's just not how it works.

Anonymous said...

Legal Steven Seagal said...

'Tell me what I am missing here.'

A proper understanding of the difference between an accusatorial system and an inquisatorial system of criminal justice.

Peter said...

Gail,

Well done girl!

Crack open a miniature bottle of Shiraz (or 5)on us !

-----------


Wonder if the brave cop who detained her, accused her of being in league with the Provos and took the rosary beads off her feels even more of a heel now.

My noted modesty means that I should refrain from commenting that I said her case would not get to the jury - but I cannot. :)

The Crown of course presented that it had a strong evidential case against her eg. plane tickets, Miami trip, dates of aunt visiting from the USA, the Perth Conference, the diaries etc.

But what happened. Did all that documentary evidence simply disappear or was it all simply a......... bluff!

Surprised that Prentice thought it would fool a Glasgee jury.

It was simply a move to break her down that backfired badly. Me old nan, the kids in the street and the dogs in the park knew it.

The posters here who fell for it
should have been less credulous - or is that more credulous (I get confused).

As I recall some seemed to be advising her to cop a plea. I won't be asking for their business cards.

IMO as said before this now comes down to the question the jury were asked to consider in the libel trial.

The libel jury were asked a simple question.

Do you believe that Tommy have sex with Trolle, Khan and McGuire (cough)?

Or is it possible these women say that he did for promises of money, pressure or other motivation?

The jury in the libel trial reached a view.

I would suggest that a reasonable jury here may well also have a reasonable doubt about these ladies accounts.

Simply put if there was no sex - then there is no confession to sex to the United Left, on the video or in the "minutes" etc.

Due to the numerous alterations and contradictions in the evidence of Trolle and Khan; the alibis for Sheridan; and the (fact) that Ms McGuire was not even called by the Crown, I feel reasonably confident that the Crown case has not been proven - but that is for the jury to decide of course.


--------

Maybe we could all revisit the idea of getting some payments sorted for the blog masters.

Due to a family bereavement I won't be able to get up to old Glasgee for the verdict and a game of cards as planned.

So unfortunately I won't be able to hand over the (very small) brown envelope I had for James/Whatsy in person.

Maybe set up a Pay Pal account attached to the blog James?

If you keep keep the blog going after the trial to comment on developments the payments will filter in. Or I / we could post it somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Legal Steven Seagal, go and compare the Scottish system with say the French system where they have an "examining magistrate".

Steve said...

Anon 3.37 PM
"A proper understanding of the difference between an accusatorial system and an inquisatorial system of criminal justice."

It is an interesting question as to whether something more like the French model of judicial inquiry might be more appropriate for this sort of case.

Legally Challenged said...

Tambo said...
No, it doesn't necessarily mean that, it just means that they now consider a prosecution is not in the public interest. It does not at all mean that Gail is the pinnacle of honesty, just like charges being dropped against Tommy does not mean that those who gave evidence in relation to them are automatically lying. It's just not how it works.

December 17, 2010 3:28 PM

I dont think there is anyone who can claim that they are a pinnacle of honesty.
Unless you accept anecedotal tales re. cherry trees and axes.
It is clear however that the charges laid againts Gail having now been dropped for me means that there are no charges to answer and is free to go and get on with her life unsullied by this event.

Sceptic said...

As well as being pleased I am also rather angry. We have seen an innocent woman being interrogated, called an IRA suspect, and then forced to sit in court for nigh on three months, only for the Advocate Depute to declare there was no public interest in continuing.

What was the public interest in starting?

Anonymous said...

Sceptic,

we have seen a suspect in a criminal investigation interviewed by the Police. Calm yourself.

Sir Brian Hine said...

(another) Anon @ 3.58

Mrs Sheridan was indeed "a suspect in a criminal investigation interviewed by the Police", but I'm not sure how this addresses Sceptic's point?

I'm not clear either what has changed either - the jury will need to decide whether this was in fact a cynical tactic...

thequietobserver said...

"Wonder if the brave cop who detained her, accused her of being in league with the Provos and took the rosary beads off her feels even more of a heel now."

With respect, this is all an irrelevance. The cop was just doing his job (as TS himself said on national media)

Campbell McGregor said...

This is not a great surprise, I think even among people unsympathetic to TS most of them were expecting Gail to get off. If anything it's slightly surprising that the prosecution didn't drop all charges a few days earlier, but there could have been some tactical reasons e.g. they didn't want her to do a repeat of her evidence at the civil trial.

yulefae said...

All down to AP VERSUS TS,will be good to watch and listen to the closing speeches,my monies on ???
I think TShas pulled back a fair bit of ground and nullified alot of the crown case,it,s down to the best man now

Peter said...

Listening to the aquital on Radio Scotland through my Murdoch Sky and checking the national media.

What's all this guff about the Crown having a sufficient case.

Prentice is quoted as saying he took into account Gail's "personal circumstances" when deciding not to proceed.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm

A conseravtive estimate is that about 20 posters on here have previously stated that Gail and Tommy having a little girl could not, should not and would not affect the case the Crown would bring; the manner in which they would be brought; or the deliberations of the jury.

Whoops.

If that is partly his reasoning should not Mr Prentice now be asked to explain how Gail's personal circumstances are different now than when he took the decision to proceed to try and have her jailed.

May I suggest that this "personal circumstances" is chaff issued by Prentice in desperate rearguard attempt by the Crown/Police to repair the severe damage to their image.

The police / Crown have come across(and have been presented by the defence) as a bunch of a anti-catholic bullies who were determined to get their man sand bulldoze over anyone who had the temeiry to stand with him.

Wereas the NOTW witnesses all got the gentle touch.

To a reasonable observer they charged Gail for the crime of staying silent in the face of their pressure and for sticking by her alibi for Tommy.

If they still had a sufficient case against Gail why not let the jury consider that sufficient case.

Simply put it was because having heard all the Crown witnesses and having not being able to shake the defence their was NO CASE TO ANSWER.

I suggest if Prentice had not admitted that first that McBride would have been on his feet today to make precisely that application.

What a waste of your public money.

A claim of malicious prosecution by Gail could be in the offing I think.

Whatsy said...

@Peter
"Simply put it was because having heard all the Crown witnesses and having not being able to shake the defence their was NO CASE TO ANSWER.

I suggest if Prentice had not admitted that first that McBride would have been on his feet today to make precisely that application.
"

As Mr Prentice dropped the charge against Gail, he stated that Mr McBride agreed that there was sufficiency of evidence, but... public interest ... personal circumstance etc... charges dropped.

Davie said...

'Not in the public interest to proceed' ?

I agree with the A. Prentice on this .... but how using the same yard stick does he continue the case against T Sheridan.
Where's the public interest ?

The prosecution of T. Sheridan seems to me to be only in News International's interest.

As a member of 'the public' I don't consider it to be in my interest one iota.

Steve said...

Davie 4.53 PM

"As a member of 'the public' I don't consider it to be in my interest one iota."

As another member of 'the public' I beg to differ. It's very much in my interest to raise the price on dishonesty in public life - whose we don't yet and may never know.

That said, the way things have developed is distressing, much more so for those involved no doubt.

Anonymous said...

"As a member of 'the public' I don't consider it to be in my interest one iota." - In the same way as Jeffrey Archer? Jonathan Aitken?, how was it in the public interest to prosecute this pair?

Legally Challenged said...

Are we now being led to believe that if Iam guilty or anyone is guilty of a charge it will be possible for me to use personal circumstances or public interest to get myself off.
Or could it simply be that as in this case as no evidence was led in respect to Gail that the charges are dropped?

yulefae said...

Peter your spot on,as i have stated before i am of other religion but i have watched this case and GS was treated bad,it is your right to remain silent so all the hullabloo about this is neither here nor there,the law says it so why do they say it then make it out your hiding something if you abide by the law?

Member of the Public said...

As as another Member of the Public, I fully support this investigation and subsequent Prosecution into allegations that a former Lawmaker (MSP) used to Courts to fraudulently obtain the sum of £200,000.

Trial watcher said...

Steve said ' It's very much in my interest to raise the price on dishonesty in public life '

You're getting mixed up between public & private Steve.

Who set you up to judge ?

Tambo said...

And the people who sheridan has accused of being liars? I imagine that if I were in that position I'd feel the prosecution to be in my interest.

Steve said...

Trial watcher 5.06 PM

"You're getting mixed up between public & private Steve. Who set you up to judge ?"

To judge what? What is said in a court of law is surely said in public - and you can hardly claim all witnesses have told the truth, as their testimony has been fundamentally contradictory.

Tambo said...

Gail's own QC accepted that there was sufficient evidence for her to be on trial, so...

yulefae said...

PMc ONLY in my opinion agreed to this as any one would,it was his job from the start to get his client aquitted,job done.
But did he really agree?As he said in cross ex he couldn,t care less about TS and he is right.
On the other hand it,s a game of poker,AP didn,t want him summing up to the jury as well as TS

Sonic said...

With respect Mr McBride said nothing of the sort, the prosecution said he had agreed there was as sufficiancy of evidence, but that is a face saving manouver. I'm sure if Paul McB had to sum up he would have had plenty to say on the subject, today he was too busy getting his hand shaken and being hugged by Gail and her family.

He may be a Tory but he did a fantastic job for Gail, so two cheers for Paul McBride!

Peter said...

December 17, 2010 4:42 PM

Whatsy said:

As Mr Prentice dropped the charge against Gail, he stated that Mr McBride agreed that there was sufficiency of evidence, but... public interest ... personal circumstance etc... charges dropped.

December 17, 2010 4:47 PM

-----------

Yes I saw that Whatsy.

That proves (to me at least) my original point.

The Crown was warned over and over of the illogicality and risk of their approach to Gail especially.

I suggest after the acquittal today Prentice has some questions of his own to answer.

I presume he will not exercise his right to stay silent. If he does I reserve the right to draw an implication from his silence.

If Prentice was a councillor he would get surcharged (nods to the great 47 councillors) for wasting public money for continuing to prosecute Gail after the Moat House charges were dropped.

If he knew he knew he was not going to introduce any extra evidence that expense after that point cannot be justified.

This is all my humble opinion of course but in my humble opinion is that the Crown just got snotted.

The only "case" Prentice appears to have is that McBride did not object that their was a case to answer. Oh dear.

Of course some may speculate that Mr McBride and Mr Prentice may have an understanding based on their long experience of these matters.

I suggest it is also possible that it was in the interest of Mr McBride's client that McBride did not force the issue by making an application of No Case to Answer for fear of that understanding no longer being an understanding.

All that is hypothetical of course.

There is, however, IMHO NO doubt that if Prentice had not got up today to withdraw the remaining TWO charges that McBride would have been on his feet to make an application of No Case to Answer.

Simply IMHO there was no evidence led in the prosecution or the defence that could corroborate the remaining TWO charges.

This "public interest" / "personal circumstances" stuff is guff in my opinion.

I suppose Prentice had to say something. Perhaps he was hoping to appear a gallant and generous public servant letting a fragrant lady and mother off on a serious charge before Xmas.

I suggest it's far more likely that this is just spin to cover the very large holes that are appearing in the arse of his kecks.

Not very well covered of course but what else could he do - he needed to say something.

As I think I said somewhere back in this blog IMHO after the Moat House debacle he needed to keep at least one charge going to avoid looking a complete pillock.

In light of the fact that he had nothing in his own hand he was bluffing and trying to "play the board" - a tactic my Texas Hold Em colleagues will recognise.

At the best, and this is being generous to him, he was "floating" the two remaining charges (about Miami and the diaries) along on a huge speculative gamble - hoping something would turn up on "the River" that he could then hang a case on as he had no evidence of his own to bring.

That did not happen.

So to avoid getting spanked publically by McBride (and the judge) he folded his hand before he was forced to show his bluff.

All good fun of course but only after a great costs to the chip stack of the Scottish public.

Gails defence has been clocking up the hours.

Now that he has had his fun maybe Prentice should be asked to justify the expense of continuing after the Moat House charges were all dropped.

As he has decided to drop the charges without bringing any evidence I suggest that is a reasonable query for the Crown to answer.

Many good legal minds in Scotland were querying the whole basis for bringing such perjury case in the first place.

That is a pertinent point for MSPs on the justice committee at Holyrood to consider when they look at the huge public expense of the police and the crwon on this farce.

Will McB said...

A couple of points.

Firstly, McBride must have accepted that there was a sufficiency of evidence led by the Crown against Gail. Otherwise, he would have made a submission of no case to answer under s97 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

Secondly, the blogger is correct to say that Gail was 'acquiited' by the judge. Read s95 of the CP(S)A 1995:

"s95 Verdict by judge alone

(1) Where, at any time after the jury has been sworn to serve in a trial, the prosecutor intimates to the court that he does not intend to proceed in respect of an offence charged in the indictment, the judge shall acquit the accused of that offence and the trial shall proceed only in respect of any other offence charged in the indictment."

You will see that the word 'acquit' is used.

Thirdly, the original post refers to the Criminal Proceedings Scotland Act. I think that he meant to refer to the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, usually known as the CP(S)A or the '1995 Act'.

The Obfuscator said...

@ Peter Alex Prentice is NOT on trial so your statement in my opinion about drawing an inference from his silence is nothing but a diversion and obfuscation. GS, however, was on trial and TS still is in my opinion.

Whatsy said...

@Peter

I agree with most of that last drop of yours. Especially the "guff in my opinion" point!

But would the expense of a justice committee enquiry be a good use of taxpayers' money when there are other, much more important issues of justice to investigate? Doesn't Lothian & Borders Police have a particularly low rate of conviction for rape, for example?

Glass Eye said...

@ lol Whatsy, now you are trying to be emotive... in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion letting GS go was a magnanimous gesture on the part of AP - a true gentleman in my opinion. And who said that all prosecutors are cold-hearted psychopaths that would even contemplate dragging a mother from her wean on Christmas Eve. Credit where credit is due.

Davie said...

'Anonymous said...
In my opinion letting GS go was a magnanimous gesture on the part of AP - a true gentleman in my opinion. And who said that all prosecutors are cold-hearted psychopaths that would even contemplate dragging a mother from her wean on Christmas Eve. Credit where credit is due.
December 17, 2010 6:30 PM"

Dear Anonymous, you need to up your medication

Whatsy said...

> Moderation <

Play nice, people.

> Moderation Ends <

Sheridan Trial said...

"Thirdly, the original post refers to the Criminal Proceedings Scotland Act. I think that he meant to refer to the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995,

I'll give you that one, although in my defence brackets are hard to discern when someone is speaking.

;)

James

Peter said...

Yes Whatsy,

The failure of Lothians police to investigate actual crimes is I presume a point that Tommy may well raise in his summary to the jury.

It's not just the huge wasted loss of public money but the loss of specialist police investigative hours into rapes, murder etc.

From listening to your Radio Scotland today (from what I can understand from the accents) serious criminals are at large in the land destroying young lives with heroin.

Having said that I do actually doubt that the police spent the time investigating this matter that they have claimed in their budgets. That needs looking at - do you not think?

If they had spent all the hours they said presumably the Crown would have some you know ... errr what's it called again ..... err .... oh that's it evidence.

Put it this way what additional evidence did the police produce other than that which was provided to them by the United Left and the NOTW?

No credit cards, no CCTV, no mobile phone tracking.

Not only no such evidence relating to Tommy and Andy but none relating to ANY of the numerous Crown witnesses who were supposed to be with them at these various places.

Also ther was no expert voice identification on the tape, no forensics on the date the tape was created and no forensics on the "minutes".

The supposed existence of such evidence was leaked to the media before the trial by what the Herald described as "force insiders"

NONE of it appeared.

Instead we were presented with what the defence consider to be a set of "chancers" (to use a NOTW description) and some petty criminals on the make.

In my opinion some of them would struggle to get parts as extras in Shameless.

So yes I see your point.

I do suggest that it is very important that this apparent (IMHO) vendetta against Gail Sheridan is looked into by the MSPs at Holyrood on justice oversight committees.

I say vendetta as her hugely expensive prosecution on evidence that was withdrawn can not be allowed to be brushed under the carpet.

If a shot put is not put across their bows by the MSPs we may have the police and Crown waste even more scarce public money on pursuing Tommy, his family, his friends and allies after this trial.

No doubt that would, as in this case, be egged on by the NOTW, Murdoch, Tory MSPs and the "United Left".

What is gone is gone I suppose - a huge waste of money.

I do suggest the tap of public funds for for further pursuit of this "vendetta" must be turned off now by some stern words by the MSPs.

That would leave more money for the pursuit of actual criminals as you say.

The Dafties said...

We agree with 100%, Peter. Spot on, mate!

James Doleman said...

I've just had to delete some comments that imho were getting a little too personal. Could we try and keep things civil?

Thanks

James

Anonymous said...

I agree with James 110%

Caught up said...

Credit to Prentice, Gail and for that matter Gillian do not deserve to be in the situation they found themselves.
"Whoever" is responsible deserves no such sympathy from the Law.

inf4mation said...

It seems just ludicrous for the prosecution to state that they consider it is not in the public interest to continue to prosecute Gail Sheridan.

Why wait until now before reaching that conclusion?

Why not before the police reportedly terrorised her wean, ransacked her home and accused her of being like an IRA terrorist, spent more than a million pounds (some say 4 million) on pursuing a set of ever-reducing and dismissed charges through the courts?

Only on a cheese tasting moon can it have absolutely nothing to do with the weakness of the prosecution case.

The reality is that Prentice is attempting to advance manage the scale of the political follow out against the prosecution service that is likely to follow at the close of the trial. The case raises serious issues about the extent to which public prosecutors seek to pursue issues of relevance to private corporate tyrannies rather than act in public interest.

The decision to bring charges would already have been considered to be in the public interest at the time when Eilish Angiolini composed the original court charge sheet. It now appears clear that she got this wrong. She needs to be held publicly accountable the public money she is wasting.

Victor English said...

Mrs Sheridan was not prevented from giving evidence because of the charges against her. Her QC would likely advise her not to, but there isnt any barrier to her giving evidence.

This was clearly a move that Prentice had little or no choice over. But, I believe that he made a mistake in keeping it so late.

There are benefits and detriments to both sides in this happening. Some of the propagandists here, are happy to declare it as a masterstroke by Prentice or a breakthrough for Mr Sheridan's defence.

Anyone who has followed the case, and the indictment, will see that is neither.

When the 'moathouse chapter' collapsed following the evidence of Mr McColl, there was little left of the charges against Gail Sheridan. At that point it was clear that she would be acquitted, the problem for Prentice was the timing.

I wouldnt have put it past him to try to influence McBride by guaranteeing an acquittal if he kept his client from the stand until the defence was finished. If that was the case then the timing would be determined by that action. If that isn't the case he would be left with a difficult decision. He would have to time dropping the charges to be during a good day for the prosecuton, lest the acquittal could have an effect of a perception of mounting pressure on the prosecution.

There were very few, if any, good days to do this.

By leaving it so late, he opened the door for lots of sympathetic witnesses in Mrs Sheridans favour, while the jury saw her sitting in the dock, reliving some painful moments. There is no doubt in my mind that this would leave the jury more sympathetic to the couple than if she had been dropped earlier.

This explains why Prentice changed his summing up to the Monday at the last minute. He did not want to go into his summation with the jury emotional about Mrs Sheridans acquittal. The changing of the summation from the Friday to Monday suggests to me that he didnt have a deal with McBride, he was just cornered by events and ran it to the end.

The issue of McBride summing up would not come into it as, as I pointed out earlier, Prentice would have known that was not going to happen from about half way through Mr McColl's cross-examination.

This will have litle effect on next week's events, if anything a slight increase in sympathy for the Sheridans, but nothing significant.

On the pedantic question of Mrs Sheridans innocence there is no question. She is innocent of the charges as she was not proven guilty of them. No acquittal in any case mmeans that the accused is an angle. If someone is cleared of a particular theft it does not mean that they never committed a theft. That sort of debate is a distraction. It is really quite simple, Mrs Sheridan is innocent of all charges.

marvinfaethescheme said...

Peter,

I think it is important to remain objective here.

Mrs Sheridan has been acquitted of all charges. She is innocent of the charges against her.

Next week we will have a verdict, one way or the other. Mrs Sheridan made statements in court during the civil trial. As a point of fact, those statements she made are not and cannot be unmade. They will not be erased from the historical record. Even those statements she made connected with the dropped Moat House chapter will remain. It will be interesting to review those statements in the light of the verdict on Wednesday.

You believe this is a vendetta, and the trial, investigation etc a waste of money. You also imply there has been a fit up. From this, I assume you are a partisan. (Forgive me if I am wrong.) I am not. If that is what has happened it is a disgrace. But any rational observer of this case must see that there is actually a contending story: that actually a number of other people were cited to court in the accused’s legal case in 2006 and branded as liars, scabs etc when they claim they were telling the truth. And they have endured similar calumny this time. That is extremely serious stuff. And it is serious stuff to be disseminating it further here when they are accused and convicted of no crime. And, bearing in mind that those individuals are not accused of anything, I think it is rash at this stage to assume the “vendetta” line when the truth of the matter is yet to be legally established.

To uphold the “vendetta” line genuinely, and not as some type of internet conspiracy theory, we have to deal honestly with two issues and not ignore them:

1. motive
2. the political background as to why this case arose in the first place, and the arguments over the stance witnesses should take when cited to court.

I am horrified by the prospect of the police, the legal establishment, the media and a political party conspiring to frame innocent people. However, I am equally horrified by the prospect of hypocritical politicians conspiring to frame innocent people and by law-makers undermining the very principles of the rule of law, to gain financially and to preserve their false reputation by destroying the reputations of others. I don’t know which of these versions are true, though I have strong suspicions. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Moreover, it is disturbing to think that the police are reluctant to investigate politicians who may have committed crimes in any way differently from the ordinary citizen, for fear of being accused of conducting political vendettas. One law for the famous and powerful;another for the rest of us.

feeling smug said...

nice one Peter...a good day i did a happy dance in my office when i heard about Gail....

iain brown said...

cant let Member of Public off the hook.Maybe JD so snowed under(sorry for the weather pun) that he missed this. MOP has just accused TS as a former Law Maker of basically being a liar who has taken on the NOTW and "FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINED £200k".That is scurrilous because ,unless my memory is shot to pieces he has never ever been charged with fraud. Yet another no doubt who still believes that Saddam DID have WMD and DID give Galloway all these thousands of barrels of oil.Perhaps like others on this blog,he/she is also a member of The Flat Earth Society! Back to the disputed tape. Some posters rather gleefully(IMO) infer that by TS conducting his own defence ,repeatedly playing bits of the tape and generally banging on and on,is a gift for the Crown. Essentially the jury will now know it IS Sheridans voice on the tape.Or thats the theory anyway. Some posters have been very critical of Sheridans brusque abrasive relentless attitude towards Crown witnesses,whilst a few have cautioned against this style and approach from a tactical standpoint ie. its a Court and not a political hustings. However, to read the testimonies of Defence witnesses that the voice on the tape isnt Sheridan(the long pauses,the humming and haaing,the tone ,the style,the sentence construction and lets not forget the swearing) is not consistent with his generally perceived view. I personally have never seen nor heard the tape so in my head i am struggling to reconcile the two as being the same personna. Whether that will prove so for the jury remains to be seen.

yulefae said...

Iain Brown if you aint heard the
tape i would say dont comment on it
as for the politician what the f has that got to do with defending yourself?You seemed to have judged a trial without atttending,imo that is dangerous ground,it,s like the jury sitting in the hoose reading the evidence then retiring to give a verdict,there would appear to be quite alot of stay at home judges on here

Martin Brennan said...

The Met officer tasked to investigate the NOTW/Mulcaire hacking allegations did not appear to pursue the case with great vigour. When the case closed down that policeman was given a column of his own in the Times - no less.

It will be interesting to see if a Scottish policeman is suddenly translated into media celebrity once the Sheridan trial is over.

George Laird said...

Dear All

I have to say well done Gail Sheridan.

This is a case that shouldn't have been brought.

Is it just me or is it starting to look like Xmas?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow

Legally Challenged said...

Tambo said...
And the people who sheridan has accused of being liars? I imagine that if I were in that position I'd feel the prosecution to be in my interest.

December 17, 2010 5:09 PM

I beleieve what you are discribing here is not public interest, but personal interest.

I admit that I to have a personal interest in seeing lying polititians brought to justice.
On balance however I would prefer if it is those who have caused the most public harm for instance 90% of casulties in Iraq were members of the public.

Ina said...

Yulfae - anyone commenting on the tape without actually have heard it is in my opinion... well... But some of have listened to the tape in court, have a copy of at least the "highlights", have watched the evidence in court, can watch countless TS interviews etc. and have the Des MaClean collection for "forensic analysis" purposes - btw Des MacLean does a pretty good Billy Connelly too and Ina (the one that talks at a million mile an hour is hilarious in my opinion).

iai brown said...

got it completely wrong Yulefae.No i havent come to any armchair verdict. You have obviously not read my previous posts. Forbid that someone who hasnt attended the court(the majority of posters on this blog i bet)has the temerity to proffer valid opinions. I was simply trying,but obviously failed in Yulefaes case, to highlight the total contrast in the way he has talked in Court, to that contained in the(disputed tape,which you forget has not been subject to expert opinion by either the Crown or Defence. Maybe thats escaped your attention which is quite amazing also.Seems its yourself who has already come to a verdict.Touche!As i said it will be for the jury and them alone to decide.

feeling smug said...

The Flat Earth Society....no that be the 'flat minute society' he he

Anonymous said...

iain brown if you have never heard the tape I am going to raise a "motion of incompetent to judge this case". I really think that if most of us are honest we would say that we are judging this trial, or at least giving the greatest weight to the tape, if the tape is genuine TS has to be guilty?, a genuine tape would put any conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt in my opinion. Some have postulated that maybe TS is playing a sort of double-bluff by playing the tape in court, but that is for the jury to decide. In my opinion having listened to both TS and the tape that I could say that it is no way TS, I would only go as far as saying if it is not TS it is an excellent mimic - because they have me fooled.

Anonymous said...

One thing to note about mimics is that they tend to "do" distinctive voices, one with lots of idiosyncrasies to pick up up - mimics will say that there is some people that you just cannot "do". In my opinion TS fits into the distinctive - very distinctive voice category. TS's voice is almost a hallmark, a brand.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
iain brown if you have never heard the tape I am going to raise a "motion of incompetent to judge this case". I really think that if most of us are honest we would say that we are judging this trial, or at least giving the greatest weight to the tape, if the tape is genuine TS has to be guilty?, a genuine tape would put any conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt in my opinion. Some have postulated that maybe TS is playing a sort of double-bluff by playing the tape in court, but that is for the jury to decide. In my opinion having listened to both TS and the tape that I could say that it is no way TS, I would only go as far as saying if it is not TS it is an excellent mimic - because they have me fooled.

December 18, 2010 2:25 PM

Perhaps that was the intended purpose of the tape?

iain brown said...

Sorry Yulefae?Ina, should have said that anhyone who hasnt been in Court,has not listened to the tape,does not possess a copy of the"highlights",does not spend their time watching TS interviews over and again and who doesnt have the Des McLean compilation(who ever the hell he is) is not permitted to proffer a valid opinion.Maybe its a Glasgow thing, but personally i have got much more important priorities. Get a life. Get a grip.You have both just clearly demonstrated your complete bias against Sheridan. LOL

Anonymous said...

iain brown, some of are doing our best to be as objective and pain-staking as possible. I am sure you will agree that is of the utmost importance that the jury reach the correct verdict on this one. A resultant miscarriage of justice in a case such as this is too horrific to contemplate in my opinion.

Denizen said...

I am minded to draw attention to the very mixed emotions that Gail Sheridan must be experiencing. She has been put through hell and her husband's reputation as an honest man still hang's in the balance. Reputation is not without importance even in a culture that thrives on the destruction of the vulnerable. The verdict might be, not a release, but a realisation of a way of life brought close to destruction. All we can say is that our thoughts are with her in this moment of trial.

FIRESTARTER said...

well said denizen.a breath of fresh air to hear some empathy for others suffering a great injustice.
a question for all the good citizens who wish to see a guilty verdict on the one remaining charge.Do you think a guilty verdict will catapult the "united left-ssp" to prominence come the scottish election or, as I think,will they continue to disitegrate into oblivion?
For this leadership,who have colluded with the notw and the establishment,think the working-class would even consider wasting their vote on them shows an even greater degree of self importance than first thought In old glasgow speak,they will have a hard neck to show their faces around glasgow,come election time,in my opinion.To the ordinary members of the ssp,who still hold their socialist values and who have been duped by these collaborators,I would say,"rethink your position". but then again,who am I.

Anonymous said...

Firestarter,

you assume all of us are divided politically over this. I'm no SSP voter, nor would I give Solidarity the time of day.

I think a conviction - which would mean he was guilty - would be a good thing.

I think acquittal - which would mean he was not guilty - would be a good thing.

I'm all for trying suspected criminals.

Anonymous said...

I wish I lived in your pleasant neutral world Anon where the outcome of political trials have no repercussions and where the launch of said trials was always done on the basis of a detached appraisal of the facts as presented to the PFs office.

That is not the world we live in.

The fact that GS was acquitted on Friday illustrates that there was not enough evidence to charge her in the first place, -if there had been she would still be in the dock, "personal circumstances" or not.

If the PF and the Police had spent one tenth of the time and money investigating the Crown witness' statements that they spent on the Sheridans, then this farce of a "he said, she said" prosecution might have been prevented.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:42, yet more guff about the cost of this trial, how much do you think the cost of this trial is in comparison to the Scottish Office budget? Answer: minuscule. And just as another diversion, budgets are allocated by department so taking the decision not to prosecute the Sheridans would have not meant another nurse on the ward, bobby on the beat...

Anonymous said...

£1million is only 20 PENCE for every person in Scotland. I consider my 20 pence well spent.

Anonymous said...

Remember that the Scottish Parliament building cost £450million pound (wasn't TS an MSP?), that is like £90 for every person in Scotland. We could have put the Sheridans on trial 450 times for the cost of that wee building.

Anonymous said...

the cost is a significant amount and has caused anger among people in the scottish court service who see other cases floundering and drifting. the term "public interest" means whether the public benefit from using those resources on one case versus what else they could be spent on

Anonymous said...

hi james, still waiting for thomas montgomery's evidence and cross examination. very important because if he's telling the truth then gary clark could not have been at cupids. please update today if possible. someone I know was in court and they told me tom monty came across very well at the begining but was then ripped to shreds by prentice. is this accurate?

James Doleman said...

Hello Anon, hoping to do that one today, had some family things to do yesterday so didn't do much work

Anonymous said...

How dare you do family things on the Saturday before Christmas?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.06

A careful reading of my post @10.42 would make it clear that my misgivings are not about the overall cost of this trial, but about the proportion of time and money spent investigating the Sheridans without paying even a fraction of that attention to the Crown's case.

Numerous parts of the indictment against both defendants have subsequently been dropped because they were not sufficiently supported by the evidence.

Surely this could have been avoided if the Police and PF's office had investigated the claims of both sides with equal vigour.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:51 Given the reluctance of some/most/all? of the defence witnesses to co-operate with the Police it is apparent that the Defence were holding their cards pretty close to their chests anyway, so giving the Police as little opportunity to "check out" "alibis" etc. I can see where the Defence were coming from mind you.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.42 AM said:

"If the PF and the Police had spent one tenth of the time and money investigating the Crown witness' statements that they spent on the Sheridans,"

Anon 12.51 PM said:

"my misgivings are not about the overall cost of this trial, but about the proportion of time and money spent investigating the Sheridans without paying even a fraction of that attention to the Crown's case."

I haven't see a breakdown of the expenditure between those two categories. How do we know it was 90% or more on the Sheridan's?

Anonymous said...

My criticism is not of the Police's investigation into the veracity or not of the Defence's evidence.

You are right to point out that a number of the Defence witnesses chose not to answer questions from the Police and PF's office, and this does limit the scope of their investigation.

However, there were no such obstacles put in their way by the Crown witnesses.

The "Moat House" allegations were withdrawn by HMA because they could not be substantiated in court.

This might have been obvious to prosecutors and Police early in the investigation if they had subjected the claims of the Crown witnesses to the same level of interrogation that they subsequently displayed to defence witnesses like Gail Sheridan.

As I said before, they should have approached both sets of claims with the same level of vigour.

They didn't do that.

Anonymous said...

Good point re Thomas Montgomery. the herald article states that he never told Tommy or his lawyers that he had been with Gary Clark on the night of the alleged cupid visit. I find this incredible because he has stated that he has been a close friend of Tommy's all his life. If his evidence is to be believed then Gary Clark must have lied. But why would he not discuss this vital evidence with Tommy or his lawyers? Bizarre or what!

iain brown said...

further to my earlier reply to Member of the Publics assertion tht TS "had fraudulently obtained £200k" from the NOTW. I forgot to say that to date he has yet to obtain a single bawbee. Just for your edification, the NOTW launched an appeal against the juries "perverse verdict", which they claimed(amongst other things) ,to constitute "a gross miscarriage of justice".This was due to be heard last December. However, due to the launch of perjury investigations,resulting in the current trial,this was put "on ice"(sorry!) So MOP, i would urge you to refrain from further fraudulent accusations and at least hang your comments on facts rather than fiction.

iain brown said...

oh MOP ,far from Sheridan getting all that lolly,which he didnt get,if Gordon Morgan(former SSP Treasurer) has told the truth,TS is actually out of pocket to the tune of £40k which he lent the SSP to help them out of a severe financial crisis(as indeed is Rosemary Byrne,not to mention weighing in £23k himself). Think McNeillage is the one you could have addressed your accusation at. Phew, think thats all on this matter though the Sheridan Hate Club will be glad.

Heather said...

The haters are out in force today, that's for sure.

They are unhappy with the GS acquittal and are now forced to justify her appalling treatment during the Police interview.

If anyone else was treated like that while in Police custody they would (quite rightly) be outraged.

Steve said...

Heather 7.00PM said:

"The haters are out in force today, that's for sure." (etc)

I think you misapprehend the motives of the great majority of posters. Almost everyone is sorry about what is happening.

James Doleman said...

Hello Steve, I have to say that Heather is right there are "haters" out there.

Some of the comments I don't allow would turn your stomach. Of course they are a minority.

iain brown said...

Sorry Steve, to quote John McInroe "you cant be serious ". Only wish that was the case.Respect.

Steve said...

James,

Thanks for letting me know that.

The psychology of the internet is a little like crowd pyschology to my mind, I mean that anonymity can have the same disinhibiting effect as the combined physical strength of a crowd (e.g. in response to scapegoating oratory).

James Doleman said...

No worries Steve, one of the worst comments I ever received was from someone gloating over the idea that Tommy and Gail's child would be "in care by Christmas"

There have been a lot of emotions stirred up by this.

Legally Challenged said...

James said

Hello Steve, I have to say that Heather is right there are "haters" out there.

Some of the comments I don't allow would turn your stomach. Of course they are a minority.

December 19, 2010 9:23 PM

Will all deleted posts be published post trial allowing for discrection to those aimed at you James.

James Doleman said...

No AC, probably best just to leave them where they are.

Legally Challenged said...

OK James understood.

However I think that the vitriol thrown may help some readers of this blog who were not connected to the SSP or Solidarity get a greater understanding of the ill will being shown here, they may well be able to judge is this a crusade for honesty or something else.

Steve said...

On further reflection, I do find Gail's actions (as described) understandable, given the pressure of events.