Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Morning update

This morning the court has heard from three witnesses. Andrew McFarlane, Mr Sheridan's Brother in law, has denied the Crown's allegation that he attended a "sex club" with Mr Sheridan in September 2002 The court has been shown a letter from Mr McFarlane's GP that states that he had a hip operation in August 2002 and that he was still recovering in September. The court has also been shown a newspaper article in which Mr McFarlane said he had "sworn on the ashes of his dead mother" that the accusation was untrue.

The second witness of the day was Graeme McIvor a member if the Scottish Socialist Party's executive in 2002 who attended the pivotal 9th November 2004 meeting. Mr McIvor has stated that Mr Sheridan made no admissions at that meeting and has further stated that no minute of that meeting was presented to subsequent meetings.

The final witness of the morning was June Hill. Mrs Hill told the court she had known Mr Sheridan for 40 years through family connections. Mrs Hill was also shown the disputed video and was asked by Mr Sheridan what she though, Mrs Hill stated that it was her belief that the voice played was not his.

Court has now adjourned for lunch to resume at 2pm.

33 comments:

Mike said...

Phew, for a while I thought the defense case was only going to be the usual suspects - claiming Tommy didn't confess to the EC and that they're really, really sure it isn't Tommy on the tape. Cos Tommy disnae swear.

Oh, and they're certain there were no minutes in that bundle of papers they didn't read.

Luckily, they also have June Hill, who's earth-shattering revelations must have the Crown quaking.

Gary T said...

Legal question? If TS is found guilty of perjury what implications does this have on witnesses such as Andy McFarlane? Would the crown then proceed to charge him and/or others with perjury.

Quest said...

The defense tactic is to cast doubt in the jury's mind re the authenticity of the tape but surely they could have obtained a more credible defense than friends saying 'it doesn't sound like him'. Is there not sound recording specialists who can tell the verasity of a persons voice and if any splicing or dubbing was carried out?

RD said...

Can I ask something, has anyone given a version of what Sheridan *actually said* at that meeting? I ask, because if what he said was along the lines of a non-denial denial ("they're blagging, there's no proof, it's a nonsense story") then that could account for both sides' witnesses contradictory claims (i.e. one side heard that as an admission of basically having gone, but the other side heard it as a denial).

marvinfaethescheme said...

Why does Mr McFarlane need to "swear on the ashes of my dead mother" when he has already sworn an oath? (or affirmed)

jim mclean said...

Bloody depressing whatever side your on, nobody will walk away from the High Court with any credibility. One side says this the other says that, could you imagine an Independent Scottish Socialist Republic ruled by this mob. Lots of good youngsters in the Left maybe this lot should hand up their boots. If I were on the jury I would ignore all the politicos and go on the other evidence, there is some crucial stuff there.

Steve said...

RD 1.38 PM

No, I don't think there's any room for ambiguity, the reports are directly contradictory.

I do think that, if it had been me speaking in such a critical situation, I would have remembered what I said and just repeated it to everyone in court and asked them what they disagreed with.

I've not been present in court and have only read summaries, but that doesn't seem to have happened here.

Anonymous said...

The prosecution's only evidence in corroboration of McNeilage's story re the tape was some people who knew Sheridan well saying that it was his voice. The defence, as expected, do the same thing to counter that, otherwise it would be uncontested.

The Defence are only responding to the prosecution's strategy on the tape, they would be fools not to.

Anonymous said...

I agree RD, from all that has been said,including Frances Currans testimony that appears to confirm that TS was unaware of making any confession, it appears to be the best interpretation of what happened

Anonymous said...

as someone who had a hip replacement due to a sports injury I can say it never stopped me:)

BalancedCommentsPlease said...
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Theresa said...

Mike you are so right! It's so annoying when the defense witnesses contradict the crown's, I mean what's the point, the usual suspects for the prosecution claimed that Tommy confessed to the EC and they're really, really sure it was Tommy on the tape because they said so. Good that's it sorted then!

Theresa said...
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Legover said...

Question is what kind of hip operation and what kind of activity was he capable of.

Gramsci's Ghost said...

Quest

Equally I thought the Prosecution would do that to drive home the charges, don't you think?

I mean they have hardly helped their case by proving beyond reasonable doubt that the voice on the film is definitely him, have they?

The question remains, why not? They are the prosecutors after all??

Legal Hegel said...
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RD said...

Legal Hegel,

that is a matter on which TS' decision to represent himself may prove pivotal, in as much as the Jury will have heard his voice sufficiently (and in different conditions of emotion) to make a judgement call on whether they think that's his voice.

Gramsci's Ghost said...

@Legal

Given the prosecution hasn't done it, with their resources, I think you may wait in vain.

Curiously the Sienna Miller case doon Sooth has really put the 'cat among the doos' as Coulson may now be found guilty of perjury in this trial when he denied all knowledge of widespread phone-hacking on his watch. Or am I reading too much into this??

Sir Brian Hine said...

The situation regarding the tape and its veracity is both crucial and fascinating.

Had the tape clearly shown the accused, this case would be over. But it doesn't and isn't.

The jury will need to decide whether it is him beyond reasonable doubt. And one factor they will have to consider is why it didn't clearly show Mr Sheridan.

In my opinion, that is at the crux of this.

The devil's in the detail said...

Maybe the Crown witnesses should have stuck to their original story that the visit to Cupids was in 2001. Since they all, independently of course, realised that they had got the wrong date and settled instead on September 2002, they have had no end of trouble.

First it appears that ther WAS a socialist 'cultural festival' on that weekend so K Trolle's claim that TS diary containing this was just code for Cupids visit looks very foolish indeed.

Then TS produces alibi witnesses for the Friday night. Now we discover that Andrew McFarlane had a hip operation the month before the alleged visit to Cupids and his doctor confirms he was recovering during September!!!

Maybe the Crown should change its mind about the date of the alleged Cupids visit - 2001 didn't convince the libel jury, and 2002 is facing serious credibility problems.

Why can't they just look in Tommy's diary and find some weekend when he didn't have something else on?

Legal Hegel said...

"in as much as the Jury will have heard his voice sufficiently (and in different conditions of emotion) to make a judgement call on whether they think that's his voice. "


Are you sure RD? Remember, I said put yourself in the mind of a jury member (one without significant personal feelings either for or against TS). Is a few weeks in a courtroom really enough to make a call on which you will send someone to jail when people who have known him for 40 years are saying otherwise?

I actually think TS is probably guilty (IMO, tis for the jury to decide, etc etc) but am not sure, if I was on the jury, I would feel comfortable making such a call *beyond reasonable doubt* without further evidence.

Scottish Hegelian said...

Legal Hegel 4.20 PL

I'm glad to see that Hegel has had a mention on this blog. I had given some thought to the potential dialectical significance of the trial, perhaps in terms of the 'verkehrte Welt' (transfigured world) or the deception passages of the Phenomenology, but really I don't see much of a synthesis yet, though no shortage of contradictions at the level of mundane understanding.

The whole things strikes me as a kind of erotic swansong of the Scottish generation that cut its teeth campaigning for a Scottish parliament.

Sir Brian Hine said...

Legal Hegel - that's an interesting link, thanks.

I'm not sure whether we're allowed to discuss where Professor Peter French, who Bob Bird refers to in relation to the forensic analysis of the tape, is in all of this, or not.

I will let JD decide (feel free to edit the 2nd para out James and just leave the thanks, if you don't mind).

former ssp said...

TDITD is correct, it is perfectly plausible to suggest that the accused may be guilty of perjury but he didn't do it that particullar weekend.

equally, it is plausible to suggest that the accused didn't do it any weekend

what isn't looking too plausaible is the idea that the accused did it during that particullar weekend...

Anonymous said...

"few weeks"?1 - more like 2 and a half months, one fifth of a year!

Anonymous said...

It's actually TS's defence that confirms my opinion that he is Guilty (but of course that is for the jury to decide), if TS was attacking the Crown's evidence effectively I would have a reasonable doubt, but he is not in my opinion; instead in my opinion his defence seems to be targeted at the emotions as well as focusing on completely irrelevant matters which in in my opinion an attempt to obfuscate and deflect attention.

Bunc said...

The comboination of TS leading his own defence and then playing the tape reeatedly for witnesses is interesting. While the witneses he is leading may say the voice is not his every time TS stands up and speak and then plays the tape the jury get another chance to compare the voices and to make their own minds up about whether they think the voice on the tape is TS.

Legal Hegel said...

Legal Hegel said...
It is bizarre that neither side (apparently so far) has sought to present expert evidence on the tape,

(edited by JD)

Given this, and trying to put yourself into the minds of the jury, what are you supposed to do? A group of people with long associations with TS say 'it sounds like him' and another similar group do not. You could as a jury member rely on your own judgement to determine if it does sound like him, but in a case of this importance, would you feel confident making that call beyond reasonable doubt?

I nonetheless imagine that some attempt to link up the NOTW's 'dark arts' which TS has been pursuing with Coulson and Bird, with the tape more explicitly, would help the defence here. Perhaps it is coming.

Hear hear said...

"The comboination of TS leading his own defence and then playing the tape reeatedly for witnesses is interesting. While the witneses he is leading may say the voice is not his every time TS stands up and speak and then plays the tape the jury get another chance to compare the voices and to make their own minds up about whether they think the voice on the tape is TS."

One has to ask, would he really keep playing the tape over and over for the jury to hear if he knew it was his voice? Or is this a form of a double bluff - making the jury think that TS can't possible be the person on the tape precisely because he is so keen to replay the tape for the jury to hear!

yulefae said...

I would like to know why in this investigation by Lothian Police they never went and got a statement from Andy McFarlane in 2006/07 when they were supposed to be investigating this whole thing,maybe they were to busy getting the coffee and Muffins in

Can I Borrow a Tea-Bag said...

Yulfae, at that stage of the game Trolle? were effectively prosecution witnesses, and that is how the Police behave towards Prosecution witnesses in my experience and in my opinion. Nothing of the Police's treatment towards the Sheridans differs in any way whatsoever from any other suspect - this is how policing is down in Scotland

Anonymous said...

"Can I Borrow a Tea-Bag said...

Yulfae, at that stage of the game Trolle? were effectively prosecution witnesses, and that is how the Police behave towards Prosecution witnesses in my experience and in my opinion."

You are right, but that begs the question - why did the police assume that Sheridan and his witnesses were lying when he had WON his case? It's as though the police have set out on the assumption that the Sheridan's were guilty and that there job was to prove it.

yulefae said...

Can I Borrow a Tea-Bag,This case stinks from the word go i,ve never seen a persecution like this in my life,and iv,e seen a few,the fact it,s the first perjury trial to come from a civil case and the other way it,s been conducted is nothing short of scandalous in my opinion,and btw i know none of these socialists