Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 2: The Police Investigation
In the second section of his summation (for the first part see post below) Tommy Sheridan turned to the topic of the police investigation of the case. Mr Sheridan told the ladies and gentlemen of the jury that since October 6th 2006, "four long years ago" he and his wife had been investigated by Lothian and Borders police. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to recall the testimony of Detective Sergeant Harkness who had told the court that the Sheridan's were the "focus " of the police investigation "from the outset" stating that "between fourteen and twenty one police officers looked into every aspect of our lives" Mr Sheridan went to on tell the jury that during the police investigation "our families were visited, our friends were visited" adding that on the 16th December 2007, "nine days before Christmas" that "ten police officers" had searched his family home for "eight hours."
Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to recall the testimony they had heard relating to that police search, how his daughter Gabrielle, who was then two years old, had "hidden behind the sofa"that his wife Gail "was in shock" and that the police had taken away his daughter's party dress and her "reindeer antlers", as evidence. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to recall that he had put it to DS Harkness that he should have been "ashamed" , not just over the search, not just for keeping an "innocent woman who had never been in a police station for five hours and for following legal advice being called a "trained terrorist" but for ignoring "significant inconsistencies" from those "who gave evidence for the News of the World in 2006."
Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to recall the testimony of Douglas Wight, the former news editor of the News of the World, who had stated in 2006 that he had not paid two witnesses in the case, only for it to be revealed later in that case that he had signed a contract that did give these witnesses payments. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to consider if this "prima face" case of perjury was not worthy of investigation. Mr Sheridan then listed other witnesses from the 2006 case who had given what he called "inconsistent testimony" including Alan Green, Katrine Trolle and Anvar Khan and asked the jury if they might like to consider that these people might have been "worthy of investigation" in a perjury inquiry but that, according to DS Harkness, there had been "no investigation" of them.
Mr Sheridan then contrasted the treatment of himself and his wife to other witnesses in the 2006 case. He reminded the jury that they had been subject to a "major inquiry" that had used the HOLMES (Major inquiry) database system. He asked the jury to recall the testimony of Detective Chief Superintendent Williams that he had not used the HOLMES system in his inquiry in phone hacking due to "lack of resources" adding that DS Williams had been investigating alleged phone hacking of the Royal family and did not have the resources to employ HOLMES but "there were enough resources to use it to investigate me and my wife."
Mr Sheridan then reminded the jury that the Advocate Depute had told them yesterday that perjury was a serious crime. He added however that the Advocate Depute had "never got round to telling you how rare a perjury charge is" stating that this was the "first ever perjury case arising from a civil trial." Mr Sheridan asked the jury to consider that "we have an adversarial justice system in Scotland" and that "two sides battle it out" over both serious and lesser crimes. Mr Sheridan put it to the jury that they might like to ask themselves, why then "there were not perjury cases every day of every week" asking "why is this case so exceptional?
Mr Sheridan then moved on the the nature of the charges he and his wife faced. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to consider the case against his wife, Gail Sheridan. He pointed out that she had been charged in February 2008 and had sat in the dock for eleven weeks only for the Crown not to offer a "jot of evidence" against her before she was "allowed to walk free." Mr Sheridan asked if this was not evidence of a "vendetta" against him, stating that his wife had only been guilty of "believing in her husband." Mr Sheridan then stated to the jury that this, and a charge of theft against Gail Sheridan that was also dropped, were attempts to "blacken her name" and stated further that when he said there was a "vendetta" against them he did so with "foundation" as the charges against Gail Sheridan were "baseless and malicious" Mr Sheridan then told the jury that in his view this was "not prosecution but persecution"
Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to "think about" the charge of subornation ((the act of attempting to persuade a witness to lie in court) that had been laid against him in relation to Colin Fox. Mr Sheridan told the jury that this was a "serious charge" especially in the context of a perjury case, as it might make the jury tend to disbelieve witnesses that has testified on his behalf. He then reminded the jury that this charge had been dropped late on in the trial as the Advocate Depute had told them "there was no way to corroborate it" yet, Mr Sheridan stated, he had been charged with subornation for "three years." Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider that the press and television had reported the charge yet after seven weeks they "need to drop it." Mr Sheridan stated that the prosecution had "known" they could not corroborate that charge "so why did they libel it against me in the first place?"
The court then rose for lunch. Further reports to follow.
Posted by James Doleman at 7:40 PM