Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday Open thread

Hello everyone, the thread below now has over 120 comments and is getting hard to manage, so if people could continue the discussion here I'd be grateful.


Peter said...

Thanks James I will test the water ...


Indeed the fact that we have now in law a system based on reasonable doubt does not mean the older traditions do not have residual weight.

If you don’t fancy hitting the textbooks I have previously suggested A Trial By Jury as a good read (and quick!). It's flawed as a novel but the jury foreman (who is an academic specialising in the history of justice) does a nice little job of explaining in layman terms to his fellow jurors (and to the reader) the history of the competing traditions ad their relevance to their deliberations.

Without telling you the verdict he makes a strong case for the predominance of reasonable doubt to them but recognizes the strength of the other traditions and the impact they have on his fellow jurors deliberations.

To back that up in previous posts I gave you examples in this country of what are sometimes referred to as Liverpool Juries were emotion, principle and political beliefs intertwine and impact on reasonable doubt. You may also have read or heard of the difficulty of securing murder convictions when the prosecution make clear they will seek the death penalty.

So yes in a formulaic world the possible sentence is only a matter for a judge but in my real world it does also affect the jury. The evidence above I feel tends to support my argument but you can do your own research on that.

It is at that nexus of emotion, principles and reasonable doubt that the decision will possibly be reached here.

For example without predicting a result the jury before conviction must be very sure that the women who allegedly claim to have had numerous exotic sex sessions with Sheridan are telling the truth. They must also consider if the McNeilage/NOTW video, currently unsupported by any forensics, is genuine or otherwise.

Without predicting he will do so Sheridan will be entitled to ask the jury to assess the character of these people vis a vis the qualities of him and his own family.

He is also entitled to ask the jurors to assess the risk to his family if they get that judgment wrong.

Emotive yes. Effective. Maybe. We will see.

Clive said...

Yulefae wrote: "hope that in the interests of justice the verdict is NOT PROVEN AS THE CROWN CASE IS A COMPLETE FARCE,i have never seen a case where the crown has to rely on so many myths,plots and down right lies to make a case for a newspaper that lost fair and square."

Er, Yulefae - and please don't think I'm being a smart arse - but the basis for this entire case could be summed up as the crown believing the newspaper did not lose "fair and square".

Your position ignores the very reason for the current court case.

The right verdict is guilty if they are guilty and not guilty if they are not guilty.

Bunc said...

Peter said:
"There are some (perhpas they lurk on this forum) who were willing to believe everything the NOTW witnesses said about Sheridan in the libel trial. The fact that a jury found he had been libelled after a lengthy trial did not sway them.

Those same people now believe the Crown case - despite the Crown witnesses delivering even worse testimony than in the original libel trial and despite no forensics being entered by the Crown (yet)as evidence !

Bunc, Lynn (maybe Steve)- if the cap fits wear it."

Let me be clear about my views - the jury decision in the previous case IMHO ( and in the opinion of almost everyone I heard comment on it) was a complete farce and was swung by TS oratory of the "my poor wife n wain and that nasty newspaper" variety( good on him you may say).

The evidence given so far at this trial simply confirms me in that view and the defence tactics look to be muc the same.

One can only hope that this trial will produce a result which reflects the truth rather than an emotional kick at a disliked and grubby newspaper.

Lynn said...

Peter, my comment in blog below didn't refer to the rights and wrongs of appealing to the jury's emotions. It was about using a wife and child to do so. Fair enough, GS is already involved but the child isn't. As a parent I would do everything in my power to keep any mention my child out of any trial, never mind a trial like this given the subject matter.

Anonymous said...

The end of the crowns case will make way for a moe interesting chapter in this trial. Ts obviously has put together a fabulous defence.

Clive said...

I hope to see a defence from Sheridan where he can clearly demonstrate the lies and conspiracy against him, without recourse to irrelevant, emotional appeals.

Can I just say, too, that for a lot on the left, this is being caricatured as Sheridan v NotW and that one is expected to choose a side.

I am no reader of the NotW, but that does not mean I think anything should automatically come down in Sheridan's favour.

PS - I think the NoTW has a bigger readership in Scotland than the SSP had voters at its 2003 highpoint. Anyone who wants to make a crude caricature of what this is about might like to factor that in.

Bunc said...

You will recall perhaps my earlier report of the trial of Frank the bank robber.
Frank the bank robbers defence to date:

1. All those people who saw me robbing the bank or heard me confessing are in a conspiracy because they work for and are paid by the bank or they bank at the bank.

2. I had the phone number and address of the bank in my diary on the day of the robbery cos I had looked it up to warn the bank about the adverse publicity. My wife was there when I phoned them.

3. My wife says I didnt rob the bank and that she would be mad with me if I did.

4. That video that sounds like me confessing isnt me and was concocted from bits of me saying other things or by a wannabe actor with the help of the illuminati and a Hollywood director.

5. Those bank robber friends of mine who said they were with me when I robbed the bank are bank robbers so don't believe them because bank robbers tell lies.

6. The other witnesses who say they saw me running out of the bank with cash in my arms are mistaken. That was a different bank.

7. I have a young baby and its not nice to send a bank robber to jail if he has a young baby.

8. My mums a Catholic and will be upset if I get sent to jail.

9. My wife is gorgeous - why would I want to rob banks?

10. I am a good socialist.

Clive said...


a quite brilliant little summary!


Sceptic said...

There is also the little matter than Frank the bank robber has not got the money, there is no CCTV evidence showing Frank (just a shadow) and many other people are willing to say Frank was with them at the time of the robbery.

It also turns out Frank had recently won 200 thousand pounds from the bank in another case and the bank was desperate to discredit him and had paid all the witnesses to the robbery large sums of money, and indeed some of the bank's witnesses had dodgy pasts and had lied in court.

The jury ruled that the bank had the means, motive and opportunity to set up Frank and the verdict was not guilty.

James Doleman said...

Hello all, have to go out for a bit, comments will not be moderated until about 4pm.

Bunc said...

Those people saying frank was with them at the time wouldnt be his other bank robber friends by any chance would they? ;-)

Peter said...

Blogger James Doleman said...

Hello all, have to go out for a bit, comments will not be moderated until about 4pm.

December 1, 2010 1:23 PM

To be honest James that is just not good enough - what are we supposed to do for the rest of the afternoon now.

So get a big shop in and don't let it happen again.

Maybe you could get a Xmas hamper together for the Crown - humble pie, tarts, ham, puddings, mince etc but careful with the rancid cheese the smell infects the whole thing.

Steve said...


Thanks for the jury psychology and other kind remarks. As a matter of general psychology, I think you will find that emotions are influenced primarily by our perception of the facts.

These are likely to be primarily the facts of a given case, of which we have not heard the rebuttal or indeed even the end of the prosecution yet.

But you're right to say that other perceptions may be in play, for example the possible injustice of sentencing - the "Liverpool jury" as you put it - or dislike of NOTW, Murdoch, etc.

James Doleman said...

Hello Clive, could we avoid speculation on other commentators identities please.

Clive said...

He does have the same line in illogical pedantry!

But fair enough.

Bunc said...

Peter - I would suggest that suggesting that James "get the tarts in" might be miscontrued.

Danny G said...

Could someone please inform me whether TS's brother in law Andy McFarlane has been called as a witness and if not why not? He has been named by a number of witnesses including Gary Clark, Katrine Trolle etc. If as Tommy alleges they are all liars then why would they all implicate another unknown person who may well have had an allibi. Doesn't make sense to me, any ideas?

James Doleman said...

Hello Danny, Mr McFarlane has not been called by the Crown, the defence clearly has the option to cite him as a witness however only time will tell if they will.

Peter said...

Pedantry Clive - after your earlier comments in "CredulousGate" surely that is a pot and kettle situation?

Anyway I thought you had made it plain then that I was quite imprecise in my use of language rather than pedantic.

May I offer virtually my Roget's thesaurus to you that I returned to after that little spat.

But if it is the other meaning of the term that you imply then your grammar, though as poor as mine, contains an opinion that is fair.

To make your point for you may I wedge myself in deeper into pedantry corner and quote the Bard's Pedant directly:

"Keep your hundred pounds* to yourself;..."

As the Crown perhaps wishes many of its witnesses had said also. As they did not it will take shrewd prosecutor to tame Mr Sheridan.

*Adjusted for inflation of course.

Anonymous said...

The prosecutor is only an apprentice. LOL

Peter said...

Anonymous said...

The prosecutor is only an apprentice. LOL

December 1, 2010 4:47 PM

Will he be sent to the dodgy cafe to await his fate in the boardroom or will get a nice treat - weekend in Dubai.

Jamesie Cotter Esq., Govan said...

Wonder why the Crown chose one of their 'in-house' prosecutors instead of a self-employed silk? Wouldn't have anything to do with cost now would it?

Just, surely, because AP is the best man for the job; be it triumphal convictions ....or damage limitation in a messed-up case!

Clive said...


I don't think I have used any words completly inappropriately so, no, I don't think it's a pot and kettle situation. If I have left a typo somewhere, I sincerely apologise. For your benefit, I would pint out that pedantry is a word, Peter.

I would add that my grammar's pretty good. Please don't allow your own failings in that area to influence your opinion of my writing.

Anyway, Peter, I must say I do not believe you have worked as a legal adviser or an adviser to any legal establishments. I think you are a fellow who has a lot of time to spend googling - and who is desperately keen to see Sheridan cleared.

With very best wishes on this chilly day.


Anonymous said...

Clive said...
Yulefae wrote: "hope that in the interests of justice the verdict is NOT PROVEN AS THE CROWN CASE IS A COMPLETE FARCE,i have never seen a case where the crown has to rely on so many myths,plots and down right lies to make a case for a newspaper that lost fair and square."

Er, Yulefae - and please don't think I'm being a smart arse - but the basis for this entire case could be summed up as the crown believing the newspaper did not lose "fair and square".

Your position ignores the very reason for the current court case.

The right verdict is guilty if they are guilty and not guilty if they are not guilty.

December 1, 2010 12:53 PM

Amedment.In the last paragraph insert after if. Proven

the_voice_of_reason said...

Jasmesie Cotter: I'm a bit confused by your post. With the exception of a small number of "ad-hoc" Advocates depute, all prosecutors from the Bar are seconded to Crown Office, and paid only by Crown Office. There are a number of formers Procurators Fiscal who now also prosecute in the High Court, but they do so by virtue of their commissions from the Lord Advocate.

The only cost implication is in respect of seniority. As Alex Prentice left private practice to become an AD about seven or eight years ago, he now holds a very senior rank, which is partly why he's now a QC. He's probably paid the same as Derek Ogg, James Wolffe and Gary Allan, with only Dorothy Bain on a higher rate.

Jamesie Cotter Esq., Govan said...

Voice of Reason: Thanks for clearing that up. Owe you a Lambrini with a Buckie chaser. Not the same system as we have South of the border!

firestarter said...

still enjoying the blog james,but i think some of the commenters are getting a bit personal.i think it would be more informative if they stick to the debate about facts rather than projecting.Also maybe some of the wannabe laWyers/polititians should try and keep the language simple so that the ordinary joe's, like myself, can keep up without having to refer to a dictionary every 5 mins. remember, the times we live in, we cant all be as well educated as some. but hey, who am i.Thanks james keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Jamessie Cotter Esq., Govan said...
Just remembered a touching cameo from, I think, either Tommy or Gail's mother during Tommy's closing speech to the jury. She reportedly sat there during Tommy's speech (danger to the unborn et al) clutching:

1. Rosary beads
2. A crucifix
3. A picture of the Virgin Mary.

Was this display of honest piety done for the sake of divine intervention - or just a few sympathy votes from Catholics?

December 1, 2010 12:57 PM

Quite an extraordinary West of Scotland attitude being shown here.IMO
Surely after such long trial it is the evidence provided that the Jury rule on and nothing else?

James Doleman said...

I'd agree with you firestarter, if people did tone down the personal stuff I think we would have a better exchange of views.

Denizen said...

I get the feeling that a lot of people hear the evidence they want to hear rather than the evidence that is led.

If a witness lies then lies again and lies again, then I cannot see how his or her evidence can be relied upon. Like the boy who cried 'wolf' they have no right to be believed even if they are being eaten.

This is supremely true in a criminal case where the absolute truth of an event is usually unknowable. From the prosecution case we have had possible lies, probable lies, certain lies, outrageous lies, baroque lies, hallucinations and drug-induced, comatose mutterings.

Even before the defence I cannot see how many of the witnesses can be given credence. James Balfour probably. But what he says does not incriminate TS. There are others whose testimony, at least, sounds reasonable (eg Baldassara) But this is confession evidence and confession has been a notorious aspect of many wrongful convictions.

The claims that Sheridan confessed and confessed and confessed again and then confessed about confessing are just too improbable. Is there any evidence that TS was suffering from Tourette's syndrome? In any case that would prove that either he was innocent or not responsible.

No. Only the most biased person could countenance anything but a Not Guilty verdict. For the Law, it is not a question of guilt or innocence. It is a question of a thousand doubts many of them more than reasonable.

paw said...

Goodness, I go out this afternoon to see a friend and I come back to find so many posts to this blog. Many do not further the discussion at all.
I know that this blog is addictive. We'll just have to wait till Thursday when the case resumes.

As a substitute, in the meantime, can I recommend clearing the snow from the pavements. It might be more profitable. It also keeps you warm.

Peter said...

Hi Clive,

I don't mind your poor grammar at all don't apologise - you carry on mate. It's a blog not a spelling bee after all.

I do know pedantry is a word.

I was merely pointing (perhaps too subtly) the irony of someone (you) who points out others spelling and grammar errors (mine) whilst simultaneously accusing that person (me) of pedantry. At best, it's a pot calling a kettle black.

Indeed I was also pointing out that I cannot in earlier meanings of the word if I am making so many spelling and grammar errors I would not be a pedant. A pedant surely would take great care not to make mistakes in grammar in order that others could learn from him.

I, however, am not bovverred.

So a another failure of logic and language there Clive. I would not have mentioned it if you had not been so keen to correct my own grammar publically.

I admitted I got credulous wrong earlier - as you got pedantry technically wrong so let's put our Rogets away and call it a score draw?

By the way I wouldn't get too hung up on my legal career - there are a few on here who claim to be very experienced lawyers who think Prentice is still doing a good job.

Your opinion, which concurs with theirs, is as valid as theirs. Stay warm. Peter.

James Doleman said...

Hello Bunc, sorry but that comment was deleted.

If you could rephrase it?

Anonymous said...

Since AP allowed Penman to give evidence about TS re Cupids and not being there - could it be possible that if TS produces expert witness to say tape is false then could AP not counter this with someone with the opposite opinion.

Just a thought?

Denizen said...

Made a comment earlier , where I said few of the witnesses had , in my opinion, much credence. Had been reading over John Penman`s testimony on the blog and wrote that one of the few that in my opinion might be given credence was James Balfour - apologies I meant to say Ian Campbell.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant stuff, Bunc!, love it!

Legally Challenged said...

Bunc said...
You will recall perhaps my earlier report of the trial of Frank the bank robber.


This reminds me of a Chinese Whisper where someone tells a tale to one or two interested others. Which is then passed along by these interested others to more interested others and by the end of the chain you have a similar narrative as yours.

A good example of this was displayed to-day with a story that if you drive with snow on the roof of your car you could expect a fine a six penalty points. This having done the rounds, was concluded by a police spokesperson denying that the police would acted in this manner instead offering advice about cleaning your car windows I saw this on TV so must be true.
I would advise that you should be more suspect regarding the origins of not only Frank the Bank Guy but of many other similar tales.

Bunc said...

Legally challenged - I suspect you are probably a believer in the "Grassy Knoll" theory. Personally I always trust my Occam brand razor - it cuts through most rubbish and gets to the simplest explanation.

Legally Challenged said...

Bunc said...

Legally challenged - I suspect you are probably a believer in the "Grassy Knoll" theory. Personally I always trust my Occam brand razor - it cuts through most rubbish and gets to the simplest explanation.

December 1, 2010 11:50 PM

Re."Grassy Knoll" theory. Another example of the unsubstantiated I beleive.
As for Occam brand razor - it cuts through most rubbish is yet another example using the wrong implements to deal with a problem.

Smokey the Avenger said...

Just to get back to something useful:
Has there been any evidence by the crown that TS called Cupid's (eg phone records) or just the partial number is his diary???

Peter said...

Bunc: If I may wield the old razor myself (which is an overated tool IMHO) to the NOTW video.

a)The arrival of the tape in 2006 was very convenient for the NOTW. The NOTW were happy to accept it as it suited their purposes for it provided a basis for an appeal and grounds for a perjury investigation to start.

b) Conveniently Sheridan is not actually pictured in the video.

c)There are deletions throughout the tape that have not been independently explained.

d) Conveniently there are no witnesses or corroborative evidence of the alleged visit of Bob Bird to McNeilages home to obtain the tape - despite the evidence of Bird and McNeilage that Bird was escorted from Pollok train station by local youths.

e) Coveniently the tape matches the destruction of the McGuire evidence in 2006 libel trial depsite suppoedly having been created in 2006.

f) The Crown has presented no forensics to support it as it recognises the frailty of it as evidence. They possibly did not wish to subject it to forensic examination as it risked destabilising the prosecution if it emerged it was faked. Avoidance was better than testing. Similary they could not simply ignore the tape. The Crown chose the least worst option and used it as a mood setter for the wider prosecution without forensics or over reliance on it.

According to your bank robber story you don't like overly convenient coincidences Bunc. Neither do I - so meet me half way and agree it's most likely a fake.

Unless you consider the numerous problems with the tape, that have been dicussed already at length on this forum, combined with the lack of forensics to be a pure coincidence then as a rational person you must have some queries? No?

Once you add in that McNeilage got a huge sum of money for its production and the emergence of evidence that the NOTW employs criminals for precisely this sort of operation then the queries must rise to the level of reasonable doubt. No?

Come on admit it's dodgy - let yourself go.

Peter said...

I said:

e) Coveniently the tape matches the destruction of the McGuire evidence in 2006 libel trial depsite suppoedly having been created in 2006.

I meant to say:

e)Coveniently the tape matches the destruction of the McGuire evidence in the 2006 libel trial despite supposedly having been created in 2004.

Clive said...


there are NOT deletions throughout the video. That is simply false. The court heard that there are deletions at the end. There is no suggestion that the tape, as heard, is not unbroken.

Your assertion that the Crown believe it is weak evidence is unfounded spin from a Sheridanista.

I wonder if 15 people - having watched it three or four times - will think it is fake. That's really the issue.

As for point d)...really? You really think that matters a whit?

Yours in anticipation of a just result.


Anonymous said...

Anyone started just skim reading Peter's blogs to see if he's saying anything new?

Pedant said...

Re Peter " there are a few on here who claim to be very experienced lawyers who think Prentice is still doing a good job."

AP's job is to present the Crown case in a fair way. In a case where one accused is representing himself, this "job" becomes more difficult because the AD requires to allow for inexperience in legal and procedural matters.

In presenting a fair case, the AD also requires to consider the sufficiency of evidence, and try to avoid presenting a case where sufficiency is lacking.

In those respects, given the intense scrutiny which he is under from press, public, and fellow lawyers, I am of the opinion that he is doing "a good job". He would still be doing a "good job" if the accused in the case did not at the end face all the charges on the original indictment, because the AD requires only to present the case he feels is fair to go to the jury. If he maintains that an element of the case should go to the jury where in fact there is insufficiency of evidence, then that is a matter for the defence to argue, and for the Judge to uphold once the Crown case has concluded.

Danny G said...

Thanks James for your reply re: TS brother in law Andy McFarlane. If he is not called by either the prosecution or the defense i can only say there's something really strange here. This man has been named by a number of witnesses surely he should be compelled to testify. If as TS suggests the witnesses are 'all out to do him in' why on earth would they include his brother in law. Even Gary Clark who relunctantly testified to his embarrassment at being at Cupids also stated A McF was there. To me it seems crucial to the case and can't understand why the crown did not call him.

Bunc said...

Peter - first address my very simpe question.

If someone went to the considerable trouble of forging such a tape why would they ham-fistedly just chop bits out that were somehow "wrong" - why not just remake or re-edit the tape?

Anonymous said...

this is a bit like the OJ trial, compeling and everyone thinks he did it but will he get found guilty!
i'm quite sure there will be more stories to come out after the trial on the basis of i knew him/her when we we younger and he/she had a fling with me. alot of people will have seen the sums of money being banded about by the notw they will smell easy cash especially in the current climate.

Anonymous said...

Peter - you say that the tape is "faked", OK, fair enough. But, how exactly (forensically), in your opinion is it faked?

Anonymous said...

You have to concede, Peter that if as it has been hypothesised that it is indeed an "actor" playing the part of TS that it is a darned good actor - even had me fooled for a bit. And how far up do you think that the "conspiracy" goes, it has been suggested on this blog that "Hollywood directors" may be involved, the name of "Quentin Tarantino" has been thrown into the mix. The possibly of a fake tape is a lot more interesting than plain old vanilla Occam and his trusty razor TS being on the tape. The story of how fake tape was put together would make for some fascinating reading.

Anonymous said...

is the trial on today

Anonymous said...

Anon this is an extract from this blog
Returning to the issue of the tape Mr Sheridan highlighted the transcript where there are three points labelled "break in recording." These are at 19.24, 38.36, 46.50 and 56.30.

I for one find it hard to have faith in this video due to the fact that it is clear IMO that this tape has been edited.
I have my own rarely used video camera which requires me to press the appropriate buttons, for each function such as record pause FF or RWD.
However the camera the tape was made on was allegdly hidden under tiles yet it would appear that the functions such as record and pause on this particular camera could be accessed whilst the camera is hidden and without the camera subject being aware.
If some technophile could explain these breaks in recording as an normal function would help.

Clive said...

Mr Sheridan ALLEGED breaks in the recording. There were points in the transcript where things were inaudible. It appears that Mr Sheridan has declared these to be "breaks". There is no scientific evidence, so far, that says there are "breaks" at these points.

Anonymous said...

Even TS can't decide on what basis the tape is 'fake' - it's him and has been pieced together or its an actor.

Anonymous said...

Clive - I never realise trust TS's use of "legalese" in my opinion, as in "young family", "baby" or even "break", but all "lawyers" do it, so fair play to him. In my opinion most people would interpret "break" to mean a point where the actual recording was stopped, no as in the case of an audio transcript where "break" may refer to parts where the audio is indistinct. The later would suggest an unedited, continuous recording in my opinion, but that is for the jury to decide.

Anonymous said...

An Accused who in my opinion an accused who appears to be being (deliberately) misleading by the use of the language i.e. giving a technical/transcriber meaning attempting to imply something which is simply no true is not someone who's evidence I would hold in high regard.

Peter said...


I have previously explained why I am not your average "Sheridanista" as you put it.

On the basis of "reasonable doubt" I am in favour of a Not Guilty. Politically I am also for a Not Guilty. A blinkered Sheridansta would feel only the second of those positions is necessary.

I have previously outlined the respect I have for some of the SSP who appear as Crown witnesses who I stood side by side with in many important battles from back when the Redskins were on the Tube.

Just as my respect for Sheridan is not diminished by what I consider to be his major tactical error in pursuing a libel action my respect for SOME of the comrades opposed to him is not fully diminished - but it is sorely tested.

I appreciate they have their own pressures and families. They failed a test that I perhaps may not have been able to pass myself. I have no grudge.

I have admitted, however, that I have no time for the SSP members leaked stories, sold stories and created videos for the NOTW dollar and for those who went (unforced) to the police after the libel trial.

Some comrades believe that they will be vindicated by a Guilty verdict.

Ironically it is Not Guilty saves the SSP comrades from oblivion which is now recognised by the more astute amongst them. But that is the politics.

On the question of reasonable doubt I say it must be there if the Crown has no forensic case.

For me if the Crown produce compelling evidence that the tape is genuine or that Sheridan was in Cupids I will have to reconsider my position. It was leaked they would provide such forensics but it has not yet been forthcoming.

Now many of the Crown witnesses have altered the dates when many of these matters supposedly took place.

You and others (now that it looks like no forensics will be provided) consider that after all no forensics are needed. That I think is the difference in our approaches.

Indeed despite the Crown witnesses agreeing that the tape has alterations throughout it you consider that the deletions are only at the end!

Your post sums the lack of attention to detail and bias being displayed by some here in their desire for a "legal" lynching of Sheridan. Posters should not skim over posts and records of testimony as they will miss important points - as happened with you here.

Peter said...

Bunc and Clive:

Check out the use of the "cod" fax in the Aitken Guardian trial if you don't accept the following. Use Google to search for it Clive - it's not witchcraft.

Bunc you ask if it is a fake why they did such a shoddy job of a fake rather than making a good version.

That is a very good point.

If you sit down quietly with a cuppa and a penguin and follow your own logic through you will get the answer you seek ... or you could just check back through my earlier posts were that matter has been dealt with.

Simply put the purpose of the “cod” Mcneilage / NOTW tape was to provide the grounds for a libel appeal and perjury investigation.

It achieved it's purpose.

The tape of course is not reliable evidence for a conviction but as I say it was NOT created to stand up as evidence at a trial.

It was and is purely a tool for a limited purpose.

It is not and was not intended to be a “smoking gun” to deliver a verdict as it has no genuine forensic status.

I know it’s murky and there is a lot of ambient noise around this argument but is the picture getting clearer now?

As I say check out the uses the "cod" fax in the Aitken Guardian trial. It had the effect of putting Aitken in jail as it created ripples in the case but at the end of the day it was still a "cod" / faked fax.

You could if you wish argue Sheridan should be found guilty on other evidence - (I disagree). You are, however, not doing your credibility any favours by tying it to this fishy tape. The Crown are not even claiming its forensically genuine (as yet anyway)!

Clive said...

Thanks, Peter.

Bunc said...

Peter - I am not tyong my credibility to the tape at all. I am simply following the logic.
having produced the tape then the NOTW wodul surely know that it might form a proiduction in a case - either their own appeal or a prejury trial given that the previous judge had already called for a perjury investigation.
So anyone producing such a tape afterthe previous trial would know it woudll stand a fair chance of beinga production and hence my question stands.

You also say
"Indeed despite the Crown witnesses agreeing that the tape has alterations throughout it you consider that the deletions are only at the end!"
Again your use of language is instructive and you could teach TS a thing or two.
It has not been established that there are "al;terations throughout" if you read the reports then you will see that there is a deletion at the end and the other bits are parts where the aidio is indisctinct. As far as I can kae out from the reporting the tape otherwise continues to run uninterrupted. that is not the impression that you wish to give of course.

The tape is merely one piece of evidence./ no doubt those hearing TS voice in court will be well placed to judge if they believe that to be him on the tape. Based on the reports there certainly seems to be enough audio on the tape to be able to make such a judgment.

And thank you for indicating your political leanings in this case - it explains much.

Anonymous said...

OK, that is established then - the tape runs continuously for ~50 minutes with ~the last 10 minutes being taped over, there is also ~4 places where the audio is indistinct. Sorted.

Sceptic said...

From this blog

"Returning to the issue of the tape Mr Sheridan highlighted the transcript where there are three points labelled "break in recording." These are at 19.24, 38.36, 46.50 and 56.30. Mr Sheridan asked the witness why there were "four breaks" in the recording. Mr McNeilage insisted the tape was "bone fide" and that Mr Sheridan "knew it."

Clive said...


I think you'll find that these "breaks" are moments where the tape is indistinct.

But, anyway, there are sections where someone, unbroken, says that he went to a swingers' club and then confessed as much to the EC of the SSP.

Anonymous said...

The tape has been entered as evidence - its maybe up to TS to prove it is fake and produce the expert and maybe it will be at that point that AP will bring in his expert. Who knows?

James has anything been mentioned about why TS or indeed GS have not been questioned by AP in front of the court?

Anonymous said...

where "breaks" means points where the audio was muffled/indistinct/inaudible.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:54 the genuineness of the tape evidence is now firmly in TS's court, it stands as prima facie evidence. TS has to challenge it effectively. Maybe, the Crown just does not want to confuse things and if TS does challenge it AP has a master-stroke up his sleeve. It will be interesting what the defence does or does not with the defence evidence.

Bunc said...

Anon "The tape has been entered as evidence - its maybe up to TS to prove it is fake and produce the expert and maybe it will be at that point that AP will bring in his expert. Who knows?"

As fas as I know if the crown havent called an expert at this stage they wont be able to do so if TS calls one - they will be restricted to cross examining TS's expert wont they? ( assuming he has one )

Anonymous said...

AP can't call TS or GS as witnesses.

Sceptic said...

With all due respect Bunc the defence does not have to "prove" anything.

Anonymous said...

But the defence has already entered a witness during the crown evidence - that being Penman!

The Crown has entered the tape as evidence and it is up to TS to prove it is fake - therefore it will be interesting to see what TS does with regard to the tape and it could be at this point that AP will be given the same opportunity that he gave TS to present his counter witnesses - if there are any!

Anonymous said...

Then why have a defence! Why is TS calling witnesses?

Bunc said...

Sceptic - indeed he does not. But he does have to ensure that the jury will have "reasonable doubt" about any evidence led by the prosecution. Simply asserting that the tape might be "concocted" is not sufficient in my view to establish reasonable doubt if the jury conclude that the voice in the tape is TS and that there are long sections where the person they believe is TS is confessing.

bunc 'em said...

Sheridan does not need to explain anything about the tape, the prosecution had the onus of trying to prove it was genuine beyond reasonable doubt.

The fact that the tape was edited is not disputed, McNeilage offers an explanation to why he edited it but the prosecution admit to the tape being edited.

The missing minutes at the end of the tape might be enough to create enough doubt. IMO Sheridan willoffere evidence about the tape but he might manage without it.

Anonymous said...

bun 'em - it is not "edited" as in "spliced", it is a continuous recording of 50 minutes duration where someone? TS? is clearly heard to "confess", the "breaks" in the recording are points where the audio is inaudible, and the last 10 minutes is taped over. It really just boils down to whether you believe it is actually TS speaking on the tape or an "actor". And how can you really decide anyway, just by listening carefully for any slight nuance, inflection, intonation, vowel sounds, change of accent, diction etc that doesn't quite "fit". And its the vowel sounds that are most likely to give an actor/impersonator away. Anyway, the full 50 minute recording isn't even in the public domain, so anyone commenting on the tape although "excerpts" were published by the NotW. So anyone commenting on the tape (unless they heard it in court) is doing so without even hearing the evidence.

Anonymous said...