Mr Sheridan then moved on from the issue of the indictment (see report below) and asked the jury to recall the Avocate Depute's statement yesterday that he Crown case "had nothing to do with the News of the World (NotW) Mr Sheridan stated "I beg to differ, the Notw is at the heart of this case." Mr Sheridan then put to the jury a number of points to illustrate his argument;
- "It is NotW video the Advocate Depute relies on and plays to you"
- It was NotW photographs the police showed to witnesses
- It was the NotW that "gave names to police for them to investigate
- That it was the NotW that had passed Mr Sheridan's phone records to the police
- That it was the NotW that "paid or offered to pay eight important witnesses in this case"
Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider what he called the "cosy meeting" between NotW editor Bob Bird and Lothian and Borders police saying that the investigation on him was launched "the next day." He also stated that that despite the video being part on an ongoing criminal investigation the NotW had been allowed to publish further extracts on the 8th of October 2006, asking the jury "is this what the police normally do?" Mr Sheridan then added "with me ten officers stormed my house" Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider that when the NotW had published more extracts for the video after the official investigation had started "why didn't the police arrest Bob Bird [The Scottish Editor of the NotW] for contempt of court.
Mr Sheridan then turned to what he called "misleading evidence" NotW "executives had given in court. He asked the jury to recall the evidence of Bob Bird, who in 2006, Mr Sheridan said, had stated "under oath" that the paper had not offered any money to Anvar Khan and in 2010 when asked the same question had said, in Mr Sheridan's words "awfully sorry, just checked and yes we did." He also recalled the testimony of Douglas Wight, then News Editor and the Scottish News of the World, who, he said, had claimed in 2006 that two witnesses had not been given money, only for it later to be revealed that he had signed a contract offering seven thousand pounds for their stories. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to consider "why would they do that" and suggested that they "didn't want that jury to think their witness testimony was tarnished."
Mr Sheridan then stated to the jury, "Bob Bird and Douglas Wight were never cautioned they had a coffee and a chat in Fettes" (Lothian and Borders Police HQ is in Fettes, Edinburgh) Mr Sheridan reminded the jury that the Advocate Depute had said of his prosecution "no-one is above the law." Mr Sheridan stated that in contrast it is "NotW executives who are above the law" that they could "lie with impunity and not be in this dock." He further stated that "News of the World witnesses lie in court and are not in this dock."
Mr Sheridan then turned to the evidence given by former NotW journalist Anvar Khan, asking the jury to consider that Ms Khan had given "three dates for one visit all under oath," a police statement saying November 2002, her testimony in 2006 which gave the dates of the Cupids visit as November 2001 and her testimony at this trial when she gave a date of September 2002. He also suggested that Katrine Trolle had also changed the dates of the Cupids visit. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to consider that the prosecution had asked them to "rely on the credibility of these witnesses" asking "is that enough to send a man to jail?" Mr Sheridan then reminded the jury that Anvar Khan had told them that she had "not been paid" for the original NotW article that sparked this case, yet Bob Bird had testified she had received 2000 pounds. He then produced into court an email from Bob Bird to Anvar Khan stating she could "double her dosh" asking how she could "double her dosh if there was no dosh to begin with"
Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider that if Anvar Khan was being asked to make a phone call to him that would be recorded as "insurance" for the NotW. He said that many telephone companies had used the phrase "it pays to talk" but that he had not heard of any occasion where someone could "make 2000 pounds with one phone call" Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider why Anvar Khan had not made that call. Asking again if the jury could consider this witness to be "credible and reliable enough to send me to jail."
Mr Sheridan then turned to what he called the "circumstantial" evidence the Crown had presented to support Anvar Khan and Katrine Trolle's account of the Cupids visit. He reminded the jury that "what the Crown has offered you" was firstly that, "Anvar Khan bought a plane ticket to Glasgow," which even Ms Khan had said "was not unusual" as she still had friends in Glasgow and her parents lived there. He asked the jury to consider if they could "send him to jail" all because Anvar Khan "bought a plane ticket to Glasgow on the September weekend."
Mr Sheridan then asked the jury if any of them shopped in Primark or Debenhams adding that the jury "might as well own up now as they will probably be accused of visiting a sex club" Mr Sheridan suggested to the jury that "they may wonder." in relation to Katrine Trolle, Mr Sheridan suggested to the jury that a "bus ticket or a train ticket to Glasgow wouldn't be a wee bit more substantial" but instead all the jury had seen was a receipt that showed Katrine Trolle had "bought a pair of knickers" adding "this is the evidence in a multi-million pound trial?"
Mr Sheridan then turned to the evidence presented by Detective Chief Superintendent Williams of the Metropolitan Police who had stated in court that he had "pursued the News of the World" over phone hacking carried out by their Royal correspondent Clive Goodman. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to recall what the DCS had replied when he had been asked what he had meant by the phrase that he had "pursued" the NotW, suggesting that his response had been that he "wrote a letter to their solicitors". Mr Sheridan characterised this approach as "mild and civilised" and contrasted this with his own treatment with police raids on his home and a "Starsky and Hutch" style arrest with "screeching cars" which he asked the jury to consider was designed to create an "impression of guilt"
Mr Sheridan then moved on to discuss his diaries and forensic evidence in the case, which we will deal with in our next report.