Friday, December 17, 2010

Lynn Sheridan - Part 1 - Evidence In Chief

Mr Sheridan began taking the evidence in chief of Lynn Sheridan, witness number one for the second accused, by establishing that although it may seem an artificial, he would be referring to her as Miss Sheridan, then established some personal information with her – that she is 52 years old, jet lagged having just returned from a conference in Brazil, and has a had a very varied professional life, including being a taxi driver, a bus driver for ten and a half years, a social science degree, a postgraduate diploma in social work, managed a children's home, worked for the local authority, and currently lectures in social work at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Mr Sheridan asked whether she recalled a meeting with the accused and Nicky McKerrell at Glasgow Caledonian University, to which the witness agreed that she did, placing the meeting in late January or early February 2005, that it was just before a SSP conference in Perth, and going on to state the purpose of the meeting was to canvass support for Colin Fox in the forthcoming vote for a new convener of the SSP, where he was running against Alan McCombes.

Mr Sheridan asked where the meeting took place, with Miss Sheridan stating it occurred in the staff canteen at around 9:30 or 10am. Mr Sheridan asked if the witness had stayed with him and Nicky McKerrell for the whole meeting, which the witness agreed she had, and that the meeting had lasted for half an hour at most, during which Mr McKerrell had indicted he was going to support Alan McCombes in the forthcoming vote.

Mr Sheridan asked if there was a particular reason Miss Sheridan might remember this meeting, and she answered that there was, as one of the administrative staff in her office had been a supporter of Mr Sheridan for years, had been thrilled to find out that he was the brother of her colleague Miss Sheridan, and having learned that Mr and Mrs Sheridan had a new baby, she had made a card for them that she was able to give to Mr Sheridan that day, and had been thrilled to have given it to him personally.

Mr Sheridan then stated that Crown witness Nicky McKerrell had testified that Miss Sheridan had left before that meeting, then asked the witness “Is he lying or are you lying?”, to which Miss Sheridan replied “I'm not lying”.

Mr Sheridan then put before the witness a production of evidence consisting of a 2005 diary belonging to Mr Sheridan, and directed the witness to the entry on Friday 11th February which contained the following:

10am Nicky Hamish Wood
1pm Steve Hudson
3pm Davey A
6pm Drive to Perth

Then, on the next day in the diary, Saturday 12th February
SSP Conf

Mr Sheridan asked the witness whether the “Nicky Hamish Wood” entry sounded like the meeting they had been discussing, which the witness agreed it did, clarifying that Hamish Wood is a building on the Glasgow Caledonian University campus, and also that the “SSP Conf Perth” entry on the following day was the conference the witness remembered taking place shortly afterwards.

Mr Sheridan then moved on to a different meeting, this one a SSP Executive Meeting on Sunday 18th June 2006 in Edinburgh, establishing with the witness that by this time, she had been elected onto the party executive. Miss Sheridan recounted how they had got to this meeting, with Mr Sheridan being dropped off at her house by his wife Gail. Miss Sheridan commented that Mr Sheridan had been late, and that “if anyone knows you, that's not an unusual occurrence”. Mr Sheridan asked “Are you saying that we were late for the Executive meeting?”, and the witness stated “Yes”, and that Mr Sheridan had been late getting dropped off, then that the hall was not the usual hall in Edinburgh and they had had to stop a couple of times for directions. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if the meeting had already started when they arrived, with Miss Sheridan replying “Yes”. Mr Sheridan then asked if the witness had seen Colin Fox at the meeting, and the witness replied that she had, and that Mr Fox was sitting to her right in the meeting.

Mr Sheridan explained that the reason he was asking about this particular date was because Mr Fox had stated that on the morning of this meeting, he had met the accused in a BeanScene cafe in Edinburgh, then put it to the witness “I'm going to ask you again – is he lying or are you lying?”, to which the witness responded “He's lying”.

Mr Sheridan then displayed a further diary entry of his from 2006, turning to Saturday 17th June 2006, which showed “Stay night in Lochside Hotel, Cumnock, 6th Anniversary”, followed by a fax to the office of his solicitor Aamer Anwar, with a hand written cover sheet referring to a date of 17th June 2010, which Mr Sheridan indicated might be a mistake, then a hotel bill from the Lochside House Hotel, under the name “Tommy Sheridan MP”, contact details of Jim Walls, and arrival date of 17th June 2006 and departure date 18th June 2006. Miss Sheridan confirmed that this was similar to her recollection of why Gail had dropped her husband off on the morning of the 18th June.

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if she was aware of a secret video recording of him, which the witness confirmed, and Mr Sheridan then asked how Miss Sheridan had become aware of this. Miss Sheridan answered that the accused had phoned her to forewarn her that there was gong to be a splash in the newspapers. Mr Sheridan then asked whether the witness had taken any action as a result, which she agreed she had. Firstly, as she was staying with relatives, her brother in law had gone out to buy the newspaper, and when she returned home she had watched the video recording on the News of the World's website, and had also read the transcript. Mr Sheridan inquired whether the witness had read the whole transcript, to which she responded that it was serialised, and “Yes, much to my annoyance I went in and read it”.

A section of the “McNeilage Tape” was played to the witness, including a section where the “T” voice appears to discuss a conversation he had had with “Lynn and Carol” about leaving his wife Gail with “no hard feelings".

Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that “the court had heard from four Crown witnesses that it is me on that tape – what do you say to that?”, with the witness replying “Absolutely not”, then going on to state that she had never had that conversation with the accused about leaving his wife. Mr Sheridan asked “Have you at any time, in all the years I've been with Gail, have you had a conversation with me about leaving Gail?”, and the witness replied “Absolutely not”.

Mr Sheridan read aloud the same part of the transcript that concerned a conversation between Mr Sheridan, Lynn and Carol. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if she had read this section of the tape transcript, and the witness replied that she had, and that “if memory serves, I was very angry. The language. The voice is not your voice. The sentence construction. You're a much more eloquent speaker than that. Plus the swearing is not part of your demeanour either. I've read more swear words there than from you in your whole life. You don't swear.” Commenting on the "ems and ahs" in the transcript Ms Sheridan said that was not typical of her brother saying to him "your never lost for words."

Mr Sheridan than asked the witness if she valued her career, to which she replied “Most certainly”. Mr Sheridan then asked if the witness worked hard at her career, to which she agreed she did. Mr Sheridan then asked if it would hurt the witness's career if she didn't tell the truth in court, to which the witness agreed that it would, and that “I'm very aware of the consequences”.

With that, Mr Sheridan thanked the witness, asked her to stay where she was as the Advocate Depute may wish to ask her some questions, before returning to his seat in the dock next to his wife, the co-accused Mrs Gail Sheridan,


Anonymous said...

How bizarre that Nicky McKerrell would simply lie. How bizarre.

Dafty said...

Is Lynn Sheridan related to TS in some way?

James Doleman said...

Could you possibly rephrase that "former SSP"



Anonymous said...

James, you could just leave this blog on "auto-pilot" overnight. I suspect it would make very interesting reading in the morning.

former ssp said...

sure thing James

i do wish that the defence could move on from the whole question of whether or not the defendent swears a lot. if there are only two witnesses left to call then they need to cover a lot of ground and i feel that part of the argument has been done to death. i also suspect that as Tommy is also representing himself then the jury will take their experiences of his voice in to account when they are thinking about the tape.

i don't especially care if the accused is sent down, the fact the case is happening is the result of a political tragedy though.

i'm not convinced by the wholesome 'but Tommy you don't swear, you just play scrabble all day' rountine. Although it is for the jury to make up their own minds.

i hope that's ok James

thanks so much for your efforts, this blog has been an excellent source

James Doleman said...

" it would make very interesting reading in the morning."

It does.

retired teacher said...

For personal reasons, I find the emphasis on swearing quite convincing.

As a young teacher, I was accused by a teenage boy of punching and kicking him while the two of us were alone in the class. Apart from him not having any marks, the key weakness in his lies was that he claimed I had called him a number of things, using the worst swearing possible. Since I was known as someone who never swore (ever!) the particular part of the evidence led to the boy being disbelieved - after further questioning, he admitted that he made the allegation up to try to get me into trouble.

I could understand why TS would think that the swearing in the tape is a big issue and one he wishes to highlight.

marvin said...

Retired teacher:

Presumably the intelligence services, the biggest media empite in the world, and the collective leadership of the accused's own party who'd known him for years would have more sense than a teenage boy.

Mike said...

@Dafty, Lynn Sheridan is Tommy's sister.

So, as impartial as any other defence witness.

The Dafties said...

Aye Mike, I can't see what difference it will make to LS if her brother gets off or not, what's it to her?

Whatsy said...

@Mike & @The Dafties
I think you've just out-sarcasticed each other.

Do I win a prize for spotting that you were both being sarcastic?

You're both being sarcastic, right?

Fall Out said...

The fall out from this trial has serious implications for some witnesses. Lynn Sheridan has just accused a colleague (Nick McKerrell) of lying in court, ie committing perjury. Do you think he will accept this and if not, what legal redress would he have to challenge something that obviously questions his personal, and as a lecturer in law, professional reputation?

James Doleman said...

Just FYI fallout, all evidence given in court is regarded as "privileged" and cannot be the subject of libel or defamation actions. This is to prevent witnesses being in fear of such and thus affecting their evidence

Fall Out said...

James, As you can see I am not conversant with legal matters like this. Does this rule only apply in criminal trials? Just thinking about GS and other witnesses being charged after giving evidence in libel trial. On another point, could Nick Mckerrell take action in civil court based on what was said in criminal trial?