Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Morning update

It has been a busy morning in court number four of the High Court of Glasgow, with three defence witnesses heard from. Before the witnesses were called Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge said to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury;  "I have excused juror number eight from continuing to serve on the jury. I direct that the trial continues before the remaining 14 of you. Lord Bracadale  added  that "further directions will be given in due course. The court then moved on to witness testimony.

The first witness was Steve Arnott, Mr Arnott, the former Highlands organiser of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) has testified that there was no minute of the 9th November  2004 meeting (at which the Crown allege Mr Sheridan made admissions about visiting a sex club) presented to the executive at the 24th November meeting. The witness was also shown the alleged video of Mr Sheridan making admissions (the so called "McNeilage tape) and stated that in his view the voice on the tape is not that of the accused, at one point describing the swearing in the video as more like "Cartman from South Park" that Mr Sheridan.

The second witness testifying was James (Jim) Monahan. Mr Monahan has told the court he met Mr Sheridan at an event on the 27th September 2002 (the night the Crown claim Mr Sheridan visited the Cupids club in Manchester) at the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Art, and had, along with a friend, spoken to him there. Mr Monahan was also shown a section of the "McNeilage tape" and also told the court that in his opinion it is not the accused whose voice is heard on the tape.

The third witness this morning is Ryan Sloan, a solicitor, who has been telling the court about a visit he made to Denmark to take a "precognition statement" from Crown witness Katrine Trolle, this testimony has begun but was interrupted when the court rose for lunch.

Full reports to follow.


Watcher said...

I see your blog has been mentioned in the Scottish Parliament James

Wullie McG said...

Oh my God... they've killed Roger Rabbit!

Peter said...

On the minutes:

It's just never straightforward with these Crown exhibits is it?

I suggest the Crown needs to show:

They are genuine account; they were transcribed by Barabara Scott alone just after the 09.11.04 executive; they were typed up by her; they were photocopied; that a copy was given to each of the executive members at the follow up meeting on 24.11.04; that they were formally ratified by the executive on 24.11.04.

There are so many difficulties for the Crown in all the above it is difficult to know where to start.

Lets try this one for starters.

The voting numbers of the Crown "minutes" allegedly taken on by Ms Scoot on 09.11.04 do not appear to add up. They are also according to the defence polemical in nature rather than a usual SSP minute.

If we take out Carolyn Leckie as Chair, and then take out Tommy and Duncan (as they had left the meeting before the voting was taken) the votes do not appear to tally up.

Ms Scott says she is a reliable and experienced minute taker. Why this discrepancy?

Surely the discrepancy (if that is what it is) would have been noted at the next executive meeting when ratification was supposed to have taken place?

Is it possible that as the defence says they are not a genuine minute but more a factional polemic purporting to be a minute.

If that is true I can see the logic in it. The document is structured in a very unusual way for a "minute".

A Sheridan opponent concerned with making a polemic rather than a minute would indeed as in these "minutes" highlight the alleged confession and would justify in historical terms why Sheridan must be forced to resign. In haste or anger they may pay less attention to an accurate account of the vote.

I suggest a minute taker would be more concerend with:

a)what the motions were;

b)would be careful to ensure the name of each person would be recorded against each motion in their rough notes (but not in the minutes itself) so the count could be verified if challenged later;

c)would record any abstentions;

d)would record who had left the meeeting early and not participated in the vote.

e)would be very concerned to get the voting figures to add up when then transcribig the minutes

f)would if there was a discrepancy in the minute regarding the votes would bring this up themselves at the next executive so that the voting figures could be clarified.

I suggest it is very unlikely a minute taker would go into a polemic and give a historical account of Jeffrey Archer case etc.

The Crown / United Left minutes appear to me to be more of a back of a fag packet job on the voting record with the main emphasis being the polemic.

I may be wrong on the voting but think I am right on the polemical nature of the minute - as other posters have also indicated.

Avid reader said...

My computer has been down and I've been suffering from blog withdrawal symptoms.

I've skim read the bits I missed, and wonder - are we allowed to mention Glen Mulcaire?

Last I heard he was called as a witness but didn't appear.

Was he ever in the building? Has he been seen since? Will he still appear as a witness?

Mysterious episode, but no mention of it, unless I've missed it, so maybe it's sub judice or something.

Anonymous said...

The Scotsman describes Mr Monaghan as a "part time poet". Can one be a part time poet, or is one simply a poet?

One for the part time philosophers.

Blogger No 8 said...

Can I be excused from this blog, James?

Peter said...

The Scottish Socialist Voice published this agenda for the Peoples Festival in September 2002. It is publically available in their archives.

This no doubt is the cultural festival that Ms Trolle claimed was merely a euphemism for the alleged sex trip to Cupids and to some sex party house in Wigan with Ms Khan.

I cannot see any reference to Cupids as a venue for the People Festival.

What are we to make of Ms Trolles evidence that there was no such festival when it appears there was?

paw said...

I note from this blog that four (at least) witnesses called by Sheridan in his defence were "cited as a witness" by the prosecution. The testimony of these witnesses has been very advantageous to Sheridan's case as they have denied the existence of a proper minute of the SSP meeting at which TS is alleged to have admitted visiting Cupid's Club.

What does "cited as a witness" mean?
"We'll put this person's name on the list, just in case we need to call them" - perhaps?

Is it usual to "cite" witnesses whose testimony is likely to support the other sides's case?

Just wondering what all this is about.
Did the visit from the policeman, putting a card through the door of Ian Fitzpatrick's home, and other cited witnesses being interviewed by the police come first? Which came first visit from the police or citation?

Any help in following this point would be appreciated.

Steno O'Grapher said...

From the video (transcript): TS?/ actor/mimic?: "And, so I say to Alan and Keith that eh, as far as I'm concerned what I want to do is face it down, I think they have got f[bleep] all on me, I think that if they had anything on me, they'd have used it long before now cos their worried about photographs, their worried about video-tapes, George I put I put ma hon up and say mistake, I put ma hon up and say reckless, I put ma hon up and say [bleep], you know, on the balance of things I've made a mistake right, I think what's happened to me since is a wee bit over the top cos I feel like [bleep] Julius Caesar, I feel like I'm being used as a tea-bag right is it right"... "I asked Alan... (above) follows.

Anonymous said...

That's interesting people: you mean this:

"Saturday September 28

The Three Pubs - all Stockwell St, Glasgow (aka the Stockwell Triangle)
The Clutha Vaults: The Red Poets Society. 6pm till 8pm
The Scotia Bar: Open mike with some of Glasgow's finest musicians. 2 till 5pm
The Victoria Bar: book readings, 2pm till 5pm.
Invited authors: Alisdair Gray, Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Roz Paterson
Cabaret: Gary Lewis, Davy McKay, Pauline Goldsmith and Elaine C Smith.
St Andrews in the Square, St Andrews Sq, behind the Saltmarket, near Glasgow Cross. Music, sketches, comedy, and much more. 7.30pm till late"

It's not really a "political gathering" though like a conference with lots of delegates in the one big hall, more a serious of events held all over the place, this type of event happens up north all the time.

Anonymous said...

Peter, reading the minutes it outlines clearly four options,

"The following proposals were put forward:
1. Tommy to be given until 10:00 tomorrow morning (Wed 10th Nov) to resign as Convener and the story to be run in the Voice, thus giving the party the upper hand rather than waiting for our enemies to fire the bullet
2. Tommy to be given until Saturday 13th Nov to resign, thus giving him the chance to think it over and talk to his family etc
3. Tommy to stand down at February conference citing family reasons
4. To comply with Tommy's strategy of denial."

Then it outlines a vote,

"There was a vote.
Option 1-7 Option 3 - 0
Option 2-9 Option 4 - 0"

So 7 people voted for option one, and 9 people voted for option two. That adds up to 16 which is the correct number of people who could vote at that meeting considering Tommy Sheridan and Duncan Rowan were absent and Carolyn Leckie was the chair.

It then goes on to say,

"For the purposes of clarity, a unanimous endorsement of Option 2 was sought and obtained."

Nowhere does it say the vote was "19 - 0" for Tommy to resign, it contains the correct numbers of those able to vote.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thing about the "cultural festival" events is that the earliest event start time is 2 pm.

Anonymous said...

Other thing is that the events all seem to be held in pubs.

Peter said...

I usually don't converse with Anons (why not pick a clever user name, get a chance to win the prize and help us follow who we are talking to). Anyway you should note Anon 5.42 that the agenda was as linked and started on the Friday not the Saturday as Anon reports it:

I presume the Friday event was an evening event as it was followed by a DJ.

Anyway there was a festival on the Friday contrary to what the Crown witness Trolle claimed.

So that agenda again from the SSV archives is as follows:


Discuss Land and Freedom with Ken Loach at...The People's PARTY

a weekend of fun, music and culture

Friday September 27

Discussion: Socialism and the Arts. Speakers: Kevin Williamson, Jan Markwick. Further invited speakers: James Kelman, Tom Leonard
Venue: CCA, Sauchiehall St. Contact: Jan Markwick c/o 0141 221 7714
DJ Junkyard Dog - resident DJ at Mas - plus others. Venue to be confirmed
Contact: Jan Markwick or Keith Boyd c/o 0141 221 7714

Saturday September 28

The Three Pubs - all Stockwell St, Glasgow (aka the Stockwell Triangle)
The Clutha Vaults: The Red Poets Society. 6pm till 8pm
The Scotia Bar: Open mike with some of Glasgow's finest musicians. 2 till 5pm
The Victoria Bar: book readings, 2pm till 5pm.
Invited authors: Alisdair Gray, Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Roz Paterson
Cabaret: Gary Lewis, Davy McKay, Pauline Goldsmith and Elaine C Smith.
St Andrews in the Square, St Andrews Sq, behind the Saltmarket, near Glasgow Cross. Music, sketches, comedy, and much more. 7.30pm till late

Sunday September 29

Children's events, Carnival Arts Company, puppet show, sand painting, face painting and much more. The Briggait, off Stockwell St. Refreshments available.
1pm till 5pm
Jazz: at the Clutha Vaults, 2pm till 5pm

Celidih: The Govan Spoonful, Alistair Hulett,
The Red Poets Society.
St Andrews in the square, 7.30pm till late.

Monday September 30

Film/discussion: Ken Loach's Land and Freedom, Glasgow Film Theatre.

Starts 7.30pm
A special showing followed by a discussion with Ken Loach.

Price list: Discussion: donation; Cabaret and Ceilidh: £7 waged, £4 unwaged (special price for both events £12 waged, £6 unwaged); Children's event: donation; Land and Freedom: £5, £3.50 concession (film tickets available only from GFT, Rose St, Glasgow)
Tickets available from: SSP, Robertson Street office; Rub-A-Dub Records, off St Enoch Sq; Missing Records, Wellington St and Gt Western Rd; St Andrew's in the Sq,
St Andrew's St, off Saltmarket; Scotia Bar, Victoria Bar and Clutha Vaults - Stockwell St; Virgin Records, Buchanan St;
For ticket information, contact the SSP on 014

Yosemite Tam said...

Sufferin, succotash! Roger Rabbit, Eric Cartman.... next up, Pepe le Pew? Something definitely stinks.

Roger Rabbit said...

Peter - have you actually listened to the tape? I have, and I really don't see how someone could say something like it is "obvious" and that is was "crystal clear it was not him [TS]", in my opinion.

Peter said...

Anon 5.31pm

We may be confusing each other o the numbers there Anon. or maybe its just me!

(whilst your on why not pick a witty user name so I know who Iam responding to).

I have the Crown/United Left "minutes" in front of me. According to those "minutes" there were 21 people present at the 09.11.04 meeting.

As I understand it 4 people did not vote ie.

-Barbara Stott (minutes)
-Tommy Sheridan (left early)
-Duncan Rowan (left early)
-Carolyn Leckie (Chair)

That makes 17 voters but the vote tally is only 16.

May be nothing in it but it has been hinted at by one other poster.

So any thoughts on the numbers?

In my opinion a 3 page analysis of such a discussion is odd and the tone is more of a position paper than a minute.

Are SSP minutes always written with such brio?

The style is quite distinctive to me and to me it is quite illuminating to compare it to the Truth article in the SSV after the libel win.

Also is it not odd that Ms Scoot having gone to the apparent trouble of recording contributions in such detail only the ALLEGED contributions of Alan and Tommy are recorded in ANY detail.

It is recorded that a very long discussion took place and various people contributed ALL disagreeing with Tommys alleged strategy.

No details are provided, however, of what was said by these people just that they allegedly all agreed with Alan's contribution.

Did no one else in the room offer anything more to the discussion than what Alan had already laid out to be the way forward?

Whatsy said...


I'm sure James is too modest to mention it, but thanks for the link to the Scottish Parliament mention. I however am less modest, and much less involved, so for anyone who hasn't looked up Watcher's link, here's what John Scott said:

"There is a trial in the High Court in Glasgow at present and not only are the public benches packed, with people queuing to get in, but there is a very detailed blog associated with the trial. Having been present one morning, I know that the blog is a very full and pretty accurate reflection of the evidence that has been given."

@Steve - you're going to bring up Ritchie Venton Part 2, aren't you?

yulefae said...

Great witnesses today

Peter said...

Note for Anons:

Junkyard Dogs would have been a front runner in the creative / apposite blog username competition,

Not any more as I have just said it but think on ....

I have noted the standard of user names is improving slowly but steadily.

You guys will do anything for a box of After Eights, voucher for Tan 'Ur Tams, a soiled copy of Something Wild and a Cupids keyring*

*car keys and coffee table bowl to throw them in not provided.

Anonymous said...

Is there witness evidence missing from yesterdays blog,

Ian said...

James you are doing a great job keeping the masses up to date with developments particularay the people from the outer reaches of our empire and now the Scottish Parliament has started to read your accurate reports from the trial. What next A Book, A Film. Perhaps the road show should move to theatre Tommy playing Tommy, Gail playing Gail and the ANONYMOUS posters playing themselfs in a different theatre of course. Dont think there is any chance of a conviction in this case perhaps later.

Whatsy said...

Philip Stott still to appear. It wasn't especially exciting evidence as far as I can recall. In fact I can't remember anything about this witness.

I wouldn't get too worried about anything you may have missed on that one.

Law Law Land said...

@ Ian, to an experienced Court Practitioner there has been a VERY strong indication as to the way things are going, in my opinion, but I'll leave it for you to work out.

Desperatly Seeking Prize cause ah hivney won one yet said...

Can ah get the prize?

After Eights said...

Hi Peter said
"You guys will do anything for a box of After Eights"
I was a bit slow on this one, thought you were promoting Nestle.
Seeing I have finally entered the ring,my opening view is I find this trial very disturbing, was in SSP.

Kojak said...

Didn't see TS on the info re the Festival.

marvinfaethescheme said...


I think its rash to describe the alleged minutes as a “fag packet job,” regardless of the disputes in court surrounding their authenticity.

I don’t think they contain the final voting figure. It is stated that a unanimous agreement was achieved. I think none of the defence witnesses have contradicted this fact. There is no explanation for the earlier discrepancy: either a genuine mistake or a lie we must assume.

As far as its alleged “discursive” tone is concerned, it may be useful to clarify what the word means, as it has at least two definitions: rambling/expansive, and argumentative.

As far as I can see it is about 1100 words long, giving an outline of what it purports to be the key points of a complex situation. That’s probably longer than the average minute, but I guess we are on Day 41 and still arguing so I don’t think it can reasonably held to be overly expansive given the circumstances.

As far as it being argumentative, well: it's a report of an argument, and records who said what. It is definitely not discursive or polemical in this sense. It reports opinions second-hand. I don’t think you could say either that it is a verbatim report. So regardless of their authenticity, they can still purport to be recognisably, “minutes.”

We can’t say one way or the other whether it is genuine or falsified. But I think the position that it is not recognisable as a minute from the trade union movement or any other organisation is odd. I’ve seen minutes which are very brief, and ones which ramble on, some in bullet points, some in polished prose. At the very least they must record who was there, the key issues discussed and the decision reached. It depends on the situation, the nature of the meeting and the minute-taker. Some organisations do in fact require verbatim reports.

Another dispute as to their status as minutes is the notion that they contain personal information, and that this can only have been done vindictively as part of a plot. Of course, whether this is the motive for their existence is impossible to tell, but it does not necessarily follow.

On the whole I don’t think these minutes are essentially different from others. It depends on the context. If there’s a major change happening in the organisation, the record should record why. Saying, “a discussion took place and person x resigned,” would be greatly convenient for the defence in this case, (and inconvenient for the prosecution – though the arguments about who is lying would still occur). It would be pretty meaningless for the record and for the accountability of the people making the decision though.

The topic of these purported minutes is a sex scandal. So, the argument goes, it should not go into detail to protect the privacy of the individual. In this case though, supposing that the purported minute is accurate, there is a conflict between two parties – the individual whose privacy would, it is argued, normally be protected, and the organisation (or the individual members thereof) whose integrity and accountability may be compromised. In this situation, it is not necessarily suspicious for such information to be recorded. [In fact, if the testimony of Crown witnesses who are SSP members is true,and the accused's defence is based on lies, the non-recording of this information in the specific circumstances, could possibly in the end-up have consequences which would effectively cause a breach of their human rights.]

None of which clarifies the authenticity of the document, but I feel the existence of “minutes” of this nature being tantamount to a conspiracy, a red herring. (if you pardon the pun).

Whatsy said...

> Moderation <
@Hugh Pids
Could you rephrase that post to be a little less definite re: "established" nature of minutes? I'm not sure that was established.
> Moderation Ends <

Hugh Pids said...

marvin said - "If there’s a major change happening in the organisation, the record should record why. Saying, “a discussion took place and person x resigned,” would be greatly convenient for the defence in this case, (and inconvenient for the prosecution – though the arguments about who is lying would still occur). It would be pretty meaningless for the record and for the accountability of the people making the decision though."

From my take on the minutes it is clear that the reason for the resignation is that the Executive disagree with Sheridan that he can sue the NoW and still remain party leader. So therefore, what you say above can be correct if the minutes stated that as the reason. The rest, the confessions, the dates etc is certainly not usual practice for minute taking. But, neither is the idea of covening a whole executive to openly discuss allegations against an individual.

Whatsy, cant remember it all now so I wont bother.

Sir Brian Hine said...

Is there any significance to juror number 8 being released? Is that a confidential matter?

Hugh Pids said...

But, [if the disputed minutes have not been] ratified, they are therefore different from other 'minutes' they are what are usually called a 'proposed minute'.

Then there are the notes from Ms Scott which tell of other significant events that don make it into her 'minutes' and the affidavit from McCombes which doesnt mention a confession, only a threat.

[In my opinion] the minutes are more or less dead as a piece of evidence that can convict in a criminal trial.

The accounts of the meeting are now more important than the 'minutes. And, of course, the tape is crucial to the whole case.

[edited by Whatsy - if not happy with this edited version, let me know and I'll delete it]

Anonymous said...

@ Sir Brian Hine - you will have to draw your own conclusions, do your own speculation on the matter of the jury discharge, there is no way that it can be discussed on here.

Anonymous said...

@ In my opinion, Sir Brian it IS VERY significant and telling, but that as they say is in my opinion.

Hugh Pids said...

Thats fine Whatsy, happy with the edit, do what you need to do mate.