The second witness on Thusday morning was Pat Smith. Ms Smith told the court that she had been a teacher for 16 years latterly managing an arts centre in Edinburgh. Ms Smith also confirmed that she had originally been cited as a Crown witness but had not been called during the prosecution case. Asked about her political background the witness stated that she had been a longstanding member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and had joined the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) along with the rest of the Scottish membership of the SWP in May 2001. Ms Smith also told the court that she had been elected onto the SSP executive committee in 2002 and had attended the disputed executive meeting on the 9th November 2004. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness for her account of that event.
Ms Smith told the court she had arrived at the meeting just as Tommy Sheridan had began speaking and had taken the seat beside him. The witness stated that Mr Sheridan "seemed to be answering a question about an MSP attending a sex club" adding that "you were carefully explaining that it wasn't you and giving reasons why it couldn't be you." Ms Smith told the court that Mr Sheridan did admit to a "brief relationship" with a journalist, Anvar Khan, but that this had ended in the early 1990's. Mr Sheridan asked Ms Smith if she was "clear" that this is what he had said, the witness responded "absolutely clear, I was sitting next to you."
Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if he had left the meeting early, which she confirmed. He then asked Ms Smith if she could recall what happened after he had gone. The witness replied that she would "never forget it" and that there had been a "very acrimonious atmosphere" and people had been saying "all sorts of things that were entirely new to me" Ms Smith added that it was "horrible hearing my comrades speak that way" and described her reaction as "stunned." Asked by Mr Sheridan about what was said Ms Smith stated that there were a number of "derogatary comments" made about Mr Sheridan and they all "felt you were the person" and that "some people indicated that they knew it was you." Ms Smith also described that some of the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) in attendence had complained about receiving "snide remarks" about Mr Sheridan when they attended events, which they had claimed made it "impossible to do their jobs."
Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if a "consensus" had been reached by the executive. Ms Smith said there had been a vote at the end of the meeting and it had been agreed that if Mr Sheridan decided to sue the News of the World the executive would ask him to step down as convener. Ms Smith said she had voted for that position because of the "dire financial straights" the SSP was in and also because a defamation case would be a "distraction from the important political work" the party had to do. Ms Smith also told the court she had not spoken at the meeting as she was "stunned" and added that she had not thought this was a "final decision" as it had also been agreed that there would be another meeting "on Saturday."
Mr Sheridan then asked Ms Smith how she had got back to Edinburgh from the meeting and the witness told the court she had been given a lift back along with Barbara Scott, Rosemary Byrne, Catriona Grant and Colin Fox. Ms Smith was then asked if Barbara Scott and Catriona Grant had discussed "minutes" during the journey, to which she replied "not at all, there was no mention of minutes"
Mr Sheridan then moved on to a subsequent meeting of the SSP executive, held on the 24th November 2004 , and asked the witness if minutes of the 9th of November meeting had been shown to her then. The witness stated that there were no minutes shown to her adding that Alan Green, the SSP's then National Secretary, had said that as the meeting had dealt with issues of a personal nature there would be no record kept. Ms Smith told the court that the first time she had seen any minute of the 9th November executive had been just before the 2006 defamation case. Mr Sheridan concluded his evidence in chief by asking Ms Smith if she would be "prepared to risk prison to lie for me" Ms Smith replied "no, not for you or anyone else" Mr Sheridan then returned to the dock and Alex Prentice QC, the Advocate Depute, rose to cross-examine the witness.
Mr Prentice opened his cross-examination by asking the witness if she thought "integrity" was important, which she agreed. Mr Prentice then asked the witness how she felt about "one socialist calling another socialist a liar" and put it the witness that by insisting that Mr Sheridan had denied visiting a sex club at the executive meeting in question that was what she was doing. The Advocate Depute then asked Ms Smith if Mr Sheridan had denied the accusations why had she then voted for him to stand down as convener. Ms Smith replied that was "not her understanding" of the motion she had voted for, and that the she had believed that the "sequence of events" would be that two MSPs would speak to Mr Sheridan the next day and that there was, in any event another meeting to be held "next weekend" Mr Prentice suggested to the witness that the vote had been for Mr Sheridan to resign, Ms Smith replied "it was not as clear as that" and that the vote referred to the still "hypothetical situation" of Mr Sheridan taking legal action against the News of the World.
Mr Prentice then asked Ms Smith how long the meeting had taken, she replied around three and a half hours. Mr Prentice put it to the witness that if the meeting had really heard Mr Sheridan deny the allegations the meeting would be "quick" to which Ms Smith responded "you would have thought so." Asked if anyone had challenged Mr Sheridan's denial, Ms Smith told the court that Alan McCombes had stated at the meeting that he did not believe Mr Sheridan as had Carolyn Leckie. Ms Smith said that Mr McCombes did not give a clear reason for his view but that she had got the impression that many people attending had already "formulated a view" on the matter and where "bolstering each other up" during the discussions. Mr Prentice questioned the time taken at the meeting suggesting to the witness that if everyone had a "pre-determined view" the meeting should not have lasted three and a half hours. Ms Smith replied that there had been a lot discussed, including complaints of "unilateral actions" by Mr Sheridan over a demonstration in relation to Rose Gentle, an anti-war campaigner and a "number of other things." including the Cupids website, and a discussion on "on exploited women" that took up a lot of time.
The Advocate Depute then asked Ms Smith if Alan McCombes had called Mr Sheridan a liar wouldn't she want to know why, when she said she would have, Mr Prentice said "did you ask him" Ms Smith said she did not speak at the meeting, as "it was all entirely new to me" and she had been "astonished" at the subject matter. Mr Prentice then produced one of the purported minutes of the 9th November meeting, the "Barbara Scott minute" and asked the witness if it was accurate. When Ms Smith replied that it was not Mr Prentice asked if the witness was calling Barbara Scott a "liar" Ms Smith responded that Ms Scott may have been mistaken, however when pressed said "that's what she is" Mr Prentice then read through the document line by line asking the witness which parts were, in her opinion, accurate and which were not. The witness agreed that most of the minute was accurate except for the sections that referred to admissions by Mr Sheridan.
Mr Prentice then suggested to the witness that a "sex scandal" involving Mr Sheridan would be a "disaster for the SSP" Ms Smith replied that this was not entirely true and if it was it had "never struck me at the time as Tommy Sheridan said he was not involved" Ms Smith added that what had struck her was the "massive divisions in the SSP" which she had previously been "unaware of"
The Advocate Depute concluded his cross-examination by asking Ms Smith about her previous testimony that no minute of the 9th November meeting had been shown at the 24th November executive. Mr Prentice produced the sheet of paper that was used at the 24th November signed by those attending to show they had received and then handed back the documents presented there. On being shown the document Ms Smith stated "that's not my signature" but did agree that documents were signed for and returned. Mr Prentice asked the witness if there was no minute why else would this "extraordinary " procedure have been employed. Ms Smith replied that it was her understanding that this was done as information had been leaking to the press. Asked if anyone had challenged the minute's accuracy Ms Smith stated that there was no minute so no-one "could have disagreed" Mr Prentice then ended his cross-examination and Mr Sheridan rose to re-examine the witness.
Mr Sheridan opened by returning to the issue of the 24th November SSP executive meeting and asked Ms Smith if she was "sure" no minute was presented. Ms Smith said again she was. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness about the "leaks to the press" she had mentioned in her cross-examination. Ms Smith told the court that after the 9th November executive meeting accounts had appeared in the press "the next day" and these had included quotes which were "almost verbatim" Mr Sheridan then had the witness examine the "Barbara Scott" minute and asked Ms Smith if she thought it was typical of other minutes produced in her two years on the executive. Ms Smith stated that, in her opinion, it was not a "normal minute" as these were usually made up of "action points" while this had a "discursive style" which she had not seen before. Mr Sheridan concluded by asking Ms Smith if she was clear that he had denied the sex club allegations at the 9th November executive. Ms Smith t said "absolutely clear" and with that Mr Sheridan returned to the dock and the witness was excused.