Friday, December 24, 2010

The Verdict

As readers will be aware, yesterday afternoon the jury in the trial of Her Majesties Advocate vs Thomas Sheridan found Mr Sheridan guilty of perjury on a majority verdict (the actual numbers were not revealed in court) The jury did however delete two paragraphs of the remainder of the indictment and one section of one paragraph. Therefore "Mr Sheridan has, in the end, been convicted of five of the original nineteen charges he faced, while his wife Gail Sheridan has been acquitted. You can find a copy of that final indictment Here, the charges that were deleted were "n" and "N" which accused Mr Sheridan of committing perjury by denying he had a "sexual relationship with Anvar Begum Khan" between 1 January 1994 and 11 August 2003. The jury also removed the reference to Katrine Trolle visiting Mr Sheridan's home in Glasgow from charges "o" and "O"

After the verdict was read out and the judge allowed Mr Sheridan's bail to continue, Mr Sheridan's lawyer and Gail Sheridan made statements outside the court which can be viewed Here. During this there were shouts of "innocent" and "show trial" from supporters of the accused. The case has been continued until the 26th of January 2011 where Mr Sheridan will be sentenced. Lord Bracadale has told Mr Sheridan to "expect" a prison sentence.

I'll be reviewing what to do with the site over the next few weeks. I've also been asked by some people to set up a pay pal button as they would like to make a donation to help with the expenses incurred reporting the case and, after some thought I have decided to do that. I'l like to thank all of the people who have helped and encouraged me to keep reporting, the people in the queue who made sure I got in every day, and the clerk of the court for her kind assistance.


paw said...


I am happy to make a donation to the cause of interdependent political blogging. Hoping that you will continue blogging on issues of importance to Scottish People.

I have attempted to donate using the new donate button. It fauled. Have you checked by sending yourself a small donation?

Here's the error message that I saw after clicking on the donate button.

Some required information is missing or incomplete. Please correct your entries and try again.

Jamesie Cotter Esq. Govan said...

Hello James,

Tried using the Paypal link but it doesn't come up with your details for the transfer! Do you have account details to wire money into without Paypal? (Saves all those awkward ethical problems over Mr Assange).
Have you seen this: 'Tommy - The Opera' on You tube?

Anonymous said...

Hi James your paypal is not playing.

James Doleman said...

Hello guys, sorry about that something came up so I disabled it.



Not on Benefit said...

Get a proper job!

Anonymous said...

Hi James,

Please let us know if the facility will be restored, if not, is there a charity you would care to nominate for a donation instead?

Best wishes and sterling work, one of the discussions I read today said you should be up for a press award, and I concur fully.

Sir Brian Hine said...

If at all possible James, et al, please can you explain the situation with PayPal?

That is after you've enjoyed a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

With all best wishes

James Doleman said...

Thanks Sir B, Perhaps things might be clearer on Sunday, I'd rather not say any more.



Anonymous said...

Would like to also thank you for the sterling effort in providing daily reports - definately worthy of a financial contribution - if for nothing else but to show that there's people willing to read quality reporting such as yours. Let us know - ?

knock knock said...

James i think the paypal idea is a good one you should have done it way back near the begining. If you get the option back to use paypal ill throw you a taxi fare or 2 towards your ex's.

Whats going to happen with the blog? You thinking of turning it into a book?
The last chapter is still to come next month.
I hope Santa fills your stockings and you have a good new year when it comes.

Sheridan Trial said...

Thanks all, happy holidays to you too.

If I may respond to "get a proper job." You are right and I'm certainly looking for one. If you have any leads please email me on the usual address.


Whatsy said...

Yes, thanks Mr/Ms Not On Benefits

Genuine advice like yours is always gratefully received.

knock knock said...

One thing that's annoyed me is the release of the interview video of gail. If she has been aquited her prints, dna photo etc has to be destroyed. So who gave the popo the right to release that video. A complaint to the information commissioner should be made.

Say It ain't so Joe said...

Very good point Knock Knock.
The trouble is that the footage may have been disclosed to both defence teams so that the cops and the crown can say 'prove it was us'. The BBC seem to have been quite deliberate in saying the footage is leaked;leaving open the question, "by who?".

Given how insensitively some parts of the interview seem to have been handled it does the police little good anyway seeing this in the public domain.

That all being said the police are sadly starting to ape their colleagues south of the border and seem to forget that their role in criminal investigations is to report possible criminal acts to the Procurator Fiscal and then let justice take its court. Every time I see a police spokesman reading ( always s-t-i-l-t-e-d-l-y in the Tulliallan stylee) to the assembled media on the court steps after a conviction has been secured I see a little piece of the Scottish criminal justice system getting eroded.

And why is it you never see the self-same plod on the steps eating humble pie a few years later when the appeal has been successful?

And don't get me started on the cops "speaking for the family of the victim".

Sorry, it's late the red wine is coorsan' and I had to get that off my chest.

Anonymous said...

Pity you felt that you had to remove the paypal button, I am sure that you will let us know your reasons in due course.

In any case, have a very happy Christmas, and I do hope that you gain the 'proper job' you so deserve in the New Year!!!



Jamesie Cotter Esq. Govan said...

That was annoying and a breach of Data Protection rules. But it does show that Tommy over-hyped his allegations about the police behaviour in interview. We otherwise might never know.

Anonymous said...

TS was found guilty by a majority. I wonder if anyone knows if it will ever be revealed what the split in the vote was? Or is that supposed to be kept secret?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:22 - don't see why it shouldn't be revealed, for instance Nat Fraser was found guilty on an 8-7 majority; unless they only reveal "narrow" majorities or something, judge's "discretion", or maybe it's one rule for Nat Fraser et al and another rule for Tommy Sheridan.

the_voice_of_reason said...

Anonymous 11.22

All deliberations in the jury room, including details of the majority, are privileged and protected by the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Even the Clerk of Court is not told the majority, and it is not recorded.

Unofficially, of course, a juror may choose to mention it, but that is not part of the court records

Anonymous said...

One thing we can be certain of is AT LEAST eight out of the 14 remaining jurors (14 men and 2 women) voted for a GUILTY verdict. TS had an "advantage" to with the excused juror because that is effectively a vote for aquittal (since the can't constitute any of the 8 that were STILL required to convict. All we know is that there was not any more than 6 who voted not guilty/not proven. But as far as the conviction stands it doesn't matter a jot.

Hugh M said...

If TS did not have a sexual relationship with Anvar Begum Khan what was he doing at a swingers club with her. The verdict is nonsensical. It also raises the issue of further perjury charges for quite a few of the witnesses. It might not be in the public interest but it surely must be in Tommy Sheridans interest. If two of the main witnesses relating to the charge of visiting a swingers club have lied elsewhere surely this would make their testimony unreliable at the very least.

Chumpo said...

Hugh - the jury were being careful as they thought that charge (the long-running sexual relationship) was not corroborated in evidence, whereas the cupids visit etc were. It doesn't mean they don't think there could have been a relationship, just that there wasn't enough evidence presented to prove it.

RE. The jury split - I think in the 2006 TS vs NoTW case the split was announced. Is it different in civil vs criminal cases?

Hamish said...

Anonymous 12.00pm (there is no such time, and why can't you use a real name).
If you can make such a blunder as aserting there were 12 men on the jury and 2 women, you lack all credibility.

Anonymous said...

lol Anon 12:00 appears to have been on the "sherry". 14+2=16!! Did TS have a "special" jury?, because as far as I am aware that is unheard of in Scottish Law; maybe someone will correct me. If I recall correctly it was 12 women and 2 men = 14? on the TS jury that delivered the verdict. Imagine dropping a clanger like that in your reports, James.

knock knock said...

re the release of the interview video i believe L&B popo made certain productions available to the media. i honestly believe that was wrong in gails case and like ??? above the gloating statement from the popo after the verdict is wrong. maybe they should stick to easy convictions, speeding and domestics. they dont cost £1.3m to investigate.
i dont think its possible in scots law to sue for comments made from a witness box (pira, ira etc) but when they released the video there might be a way into them for that.

as an outsider to this ongoing ssp, ssy, solidarity fued i find it very tiring its more akin to pira and the ira struggling for power over the people.

someone posted the name hollie berry on the blog weeks ago go google it and then fomulate the plan forward.

merry christmas

The red joker said...

What's next strategy for the TS camp will it be 'free the cupid one' or how about releasing a charity single 'i'm screaming for a quiet mistress'

Santa was a Red... said...

Gail was interviewed for 5 hours, and in the little bit we saw on TV, the police, although asking some pretty disgusting questions, were doing it in a low key way.

What I would like to see are the other 4 hrs & 55 mins and see how much shouting and intimidation was going on.

Bet the Police are not so keen to "leak" that footage.

That footage was obviously released to the not so secret policeman Mark Daly a long time ago. Because of the ongoing trial he couldn't release it until after the verdict, but they were determined to get it out there by hook or by leak :-)

They must really want to get the Sheridans !

Denizen said...

I would like to thnk all the people that we met in the queue. With a few notable exceptions you were feisty, intelligent, well-informed wise and above all fun. The odd few hours of standing became a pleasure in your company. You made the year 2010 for me.

The verdict was not what we would have wished. The problem is now to get the real story out there. We can only do this with James's help.

Keep at it James. You will know I have selfish reasons for this but try to keep the Blog online for as long as you can.

In spite of all this sadness, best wishes to the Sheridans. I would say you held the moral high-ground but that is no great compliment when I consider the depths to which so many plummeted in pursuit of self-justification, self-aggrandisement, greed and a contempt for the ordinary Scottish people which is beyond comprehension.

Boomerang said...

For my part I have to say I agree with the verdict and that justice must be allowed to take it course. A serious crime has been committed, a crime predetermined to undermine the validity of the justice system, and a suitably robust deterrent sentence (I am sure) will and must be passed.

I appreciate that this is a case/situation that has opened deep (in some cases it appears very deep) wounds and it'd be inappropriate for me to comment on the validity of these.

What I would say is this. I personally hold no malice for Mr. Sheridan and would ask those who now feel vindicated to reflect on the following:

1. The sentence passed is likely to be substantial by all accounts and I, for one, feel sure it will be of suitable length to invoke the Representation of the People Act and prevent Mr. Sheridan ever standing for elected office again.
2. It will remove him from society, as is right, but it will also deprive a small child of her father and a loving wife of her partner.
3. The newspaper, again as is right, will undoubtedly seek to recoup its losses and that puts the family home at risk and the future comfort/security of Mr. Sheridan's family in some doubt.

Given this, given the long-term effects of Mr. Sheridan's actions on those who shoulder no part of the blame, I think we might all just take a minute and be a bit more temperate in our musings.

Justice 'will' be done on January the 26th, it would be ill served if all it produced as a result was a baying mob.

anon 101 said...

It seems to me that there was a convergence of interest in this case.

The SSP "United Left" faction wanted rid of Sheridan because he was getting too big for his boots and they couldn't quite get out from under his shadow.

Our elders and betters in the Murdoch empire wanted to discredit a very effective socialist from leading any kind of fightback against corporate Britain.

What a shame the SSP leaders could only see their short term interests being served and couldn't take a wider look at what the people they pupport to represent might actually need - and that is not a socialist disgraced and in prison.

Jessica Fletcher P.I. said...

I can't take it any more... I admit it... Tommy must be innocent.

It's a burning pain in my soul.

Where can I submit my evidence?

Lefty Trainspotter said...

@anon 101

it's almost as if they should have had the sense to counsel him to not start the train that would end in this wreck by pointing out it would end in this wreck.

If only they had had that kind of long term view at the time...

Hugh M said...

hi Chumpo.

The main "allegation" was that TS visited a swingers club with four other people.The jury didn't believe two of the most important witnesses from the defence, so much so that they had the indictment altered to reflect this.It was obviously a bone of contention in their delibration and in my opinion must form "reasonable doubt".

Chumpo said...

Hugh you will have to explain your point in more detail, as I don't follow your argument. The jury declared the charges relating to the cupids visit and to later admitting to the cupids visit, proven.

There were other charges relating to the ongoing relationships with AK and KT - the jury considered that with KT was proven (after amending out an unproven detail), but that with AK wasn't proven (as there was no corroborating evidence beyond AK's testimony). As the jury were instructed, each charge needs at least two pieces of evidence in support for a conviction to be justified.

Therefore the fact of the non-conviction on one charge and editing of one of the five successful charges does NOT mean the jury "didn't believe" the witnesses concerned or thought they were lying. Clearly that was not the case.

Best wishes,

PS. Legally, it is no longer an "allegation" that TS visited Cupids - it is considered "proven".

Eraserhead said...

@ Lefty Trainspotter -

Aye, the benefit of hindsight is a wonderful gift.


Happy New Year and thanks for the blog James.

You are a credit to cyber journalism.

Good Luck to all here and regardless of the verdict or the 'guilt' in this case, I hope TS avoids a custodial sentence. I think a vengeful state is a danger to justice and there is no more sentence than being found to be a liar by your peers.

It looks like there's going to be a tabloid frenzy of more seedy allegations that I think we could all do without.

I wish Tommy and his family good luck and peace.

Peter said...

Hi Chumpo, December 26, 2010 12:29 P

You raise a point on lack of corroboration that I have been taking up with Whatsy elsehwere in the blog without much success (from either of us) in getting to the bottom of it.

Prentice presumably knows the law on corroboration that you and Whatsy quote. No?

Let's agree he probably does :)

Next you say you know why (or at least indicate or insinuate that you know why) the jury rejected the indictments regarding the alleged affair with the energetic Ms Khan.

You say that it took the decision because of the lack of corroboration.

NB: I am not sure how you could KNOW that is the case as you were not on the jury. At best you are having a guess - like the rest of us? No?

Why do you say it was a lack corroboration rather than them simply just not believing Khan?

I think that is more likely (or at least as likely) they did not believe her after her testimony - but that is only a guess as well.

You (and Whatsy) elsewhere say that the judge raised the law on corroboration with the jury that you quote.

Again I say did Prentice not know this law in advance of the judge raising it? Seriously now?

Therefore can you explain why Prentice is allowed to present charges in Scottish courts, that as you say were uncorroborated, if they had no chance of success at due to the lack of corroboration - a lack that he well knew of!

In England and Wales there is a Code of Practice for prosecutors.

I have read it. The general idea is for the Crown prosecutors not to abuse their powerful position they have to influence juries by bringing unsustainable charges.

Also to threaten the accused, co-accused or to present the case unfairly to the jury by bringing a range of unsustainable indictments is outwith that guidance.

You appear to agree that Prentice brought a range of uncorroborated charges.

Indeed some of them were deleted by himself before the end of the trial!

Is bringing uncorroborated charges against Gail and Tommy (or anyone)excusable?

Is it fair to the jury and the accused that this was done?

Is it proper for justice?

Maybe it is a sharp practice but still lawful and therefore whilst maybe a breach of guidance (in Scotland as well?) it may not be a grounds for appeal?

So what say you about that tactic?



Whatsy said...

@Peter & @Chumpo

Regarding deleted charges, may I direct you to the comments of Lord Bracadale in his charge to the jury:

"Lord Bracadale stated that evidence from deleted charges on the indictment was still available to the jury to consider if it is useful, and that it was normal for some charges to be dropped in the course of a trial, as the Crown had to give “Fair Notice” of charges, even if evidence does not emerge to corroborate the charge, such as with the Subornation BeanScene chapter involving Colin Fox."

Chumpo said...


I am making an assumption like yourself, of course, but I feel it makes a lot more sense than that which you propose ("some charges were changed/dropped so the jury thinks those witnesses are liars, despite believing their accounts accurate relating to other charges which were successful" - is that a fair summary?).

With respect to the Crown pressing charges they knew not have any corroboration: is it not possible that there were was evidence available that wasn't led, perhaps coz Prentice didn't think it strong enough to go on? Or maybe, as the Sunday papers suggested, it could have an issue related to the inability of the Crown to lead some forensics due to the Cadder ruling?

Again I am of course only guessing.

Critical-eye said...

I think that the issue regarding the dropped charges is a storm in a teacup. Recall that the jury took six hours to reach a verdict on six charges. They would have been wholly over-whelmed had they had to consider the full initial indictment: two/three days of intellectual and emotional exhaustion.

The indictment list was always going to be simplified. What the Crown will have been aiming for was for the accused to be found guilty of all charges.

This also explains the probable reason why the charges against GS were dropped. It would have been much more difficult for the jury to reach a verdict against TS if that verdict compelled them to return a verdict on GS which meant she could be sent to prison.

As it was the jury had a relatively simple charge sheet which they were able to consider on the evidence.