Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tommy and Gail Sheridan to "Sue Police"

The Scottish Daily Record and the Scottish Herald are reporting this morning that lawyers for Gail and Tommy Sheridan have written to Lothian and Borders Chief Constable David Strang and Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, to lodge formal complaints over the broadcast of footage of their police interviews by the BBC. There is also to be a complaint to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom over BBC's transmit ion of the video.

A separate complaint from Mrs Sheridan relates to the conduct of her police interview where a set of rosary beads were removed from her possession and also that, her lawyers state, "she was subjected to certain questioning because she was a Roman Catholic." Mrs Sheridan has also claimed that a charge of theft brought against her after a police raid in her home was malicious.

The letters, which will be delivered this morning, conclude "We are instructed to consider legal proceedings against L&B Police and should an adequate and transparent investigation not take place into the allegations, shall proceed to do so."

The Herald story can be found Here The Daily Record report is Here and a legal analysis from "The Drum" can be found Here

Readers may also find The testimony of DS Harkness of Lothian and Borders Police, who conducted the interview with Gail Sheridan of interest, our report on that  can be found Here


Anonymous said...

I think the complaint about Mrs Sheridan's interview would have had more credibility had either Sheridan raised any objections to things at the time.

Say It Ain't So Joe said...

Who thought it was a clever idea with a sentencing diet on the 26th of January to get all of this splashed?

In the immediate aftermath of the verdict I really thought that whatever blunders and errors TS had made to date there was a substantial case to be made for the court to impose a community sentence.

Sadly, what has emanated from sources close to TS (and who I have no doubt TS could bid silent if he wished)seems to me at least inconsistent with somebody who is willing to accept the fact that he has been found guilty by a jury of his peers and which others less indulgent might construe as holding the court in a certain amount of contempt.

For any sentencing judge the starting point on the road to a community alternative is an accused appearing with at least some willingness to engage in programmes to address their offending behaviour. As stated elsewhere and by others Lord Bracadale is noted as a fair and sensitive sentencing judge - let's hope he's not one that spends too much time bothering about what gets spun into the media because at the moment the narrative appearing to emanate from one camp is about the importance of anything and everything EXCEPT whether it is acceptable to give perjured evidence.

TS is a superb orator, a clearly skilled cross-examiner and holds many admirable political principles but I am afraid that he appears to me to be a wholly inept tactician.
I fear that he and his family will rue the day that he dispensed with wiser counsel than he now appears to have.

jim mclean said...

Say It Ain't So Joe makes some valid points, and as been discussed before on this forum, Mike Watson's sentence was longer because of the lack of contrition and the likelihood he would offend again. Will the background report which the Judge will use show significant remorse and point to the conclusion that TS would not offend again. It may be a good job that the Judge cannot go by the press reports and utterances from the Sheridan camp.

James Doleman said...

Hello Paul, as I have said before we are not allowing speculation on possible sentences.

If you could edit that part out I would be happy to post your remarks.

Best Regards


Anonymous said...

From the Herald: "The 12-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow cost the public purse £180,000 in prosecution costs and £7840 was paid in expenses to witnesses, the Crown Office said yesterday.

It cost £91,981 to prepare the case between October 2008 and December 2010, while fees for the prosecuting counsel were £74,102."

Sounds reasonable, and how does this square with this talk of "multi-million pound investigations that we keep hearing about?

Anonymous said...

From a PR point of view they are doing nothing but damaging their public image and the public have tired of them.
The comments from the record web site should make TS and his wife cringe and think again about running for office bit I fear it will not.
It does seem their days are over but they can't seem to accept it.

Anonymous said...


There is probably a conspiracy and the true amount has been hidden from the public. It probably comes to billions- in fact there is a correlation between the capitalist crash and the investigation. Perhaps it broke the entire capitalist system such was the insidiousness of the Murdoch Empire in the world banking, courts and media systems.

"Sheridan Brings Down Capitalist System by Mad
Shagging!" my hero!

Peter said...

Anon 6.38pm

Their days are over?

The Scotsman poll this week ended with 18% people entering the poll saying they would vote for Gail Sheridan - which is much higher than the Lib Dems and Conservatives are currently polling in Scotland.

That means 82% who voted against her of course - but I am a cup half full man.

The later comments today on the Daily Record website story that you refer to are more balanced than you make out - have another look :)

The early comments are indeed all from Sheridan opponents - mainly it appears rightwing milkmen and bakers as they always seem to get up early to lodge their bile against the man before heading out to work.



James Doleman said...

Hello all, had to delete a couple of comments there, could we cut out the speculation, personal attacks and try and stay on topic.

Best Regards


Anonymous said...

is this The Scotsman newspaper that are firing employees as their newspaper sales are so small. I would really not trust anything printed in the Scotsman.

Anonymous said...

If we do that James the blog will be empty!

Anonymous said...

We need to have a laugh and enjoy life not just take ourselves seriously. Keep up the good work James:)

knock knock said...

Wow just read the record story and the comments on it. 20 pages worth. Our peter has been very busy on there but obviously showing his blind allegiance to the Sheridans. The comments are much more fruity than on here. Not blaming you James and you posting policy but the daily record allows radical comments which you would not. Maybe it would be better to open it up here or at least have a poll on the verdict being right or wrong.

One last thing for peterjd, I assume you come from liverpool with your comments on the record site and the fact you spell pollok as pollock! Lol

Dumber Girl said...

Peter - Daft comments like this on the Daily Record website: "Why does no newspaper ask Tommy and Gail Sheridan if they are so snow white and innocent then WHY did they refuse to go into the witness box? Why Tommy if you had nothing to hide." lol How many times does this need to be explained. Tommy and Gail did not give evidence as it is their LEGAL RIGHT not to; the Defence don't have to prove anything. Got that, "heilanladdie"?

James Doleman said...

Hello Knock Knock, the difference between the Record and me is I allowed comments during the trial.

knock knock said...

fair point james!

Jo G said...

To first Anonymous comment on this thread, you imply any complaint about that interview has no credibility? Are you serious? If so can you explain how the conduct of the Officer was acceptable in Scotland when it was apparent that Gail Sheridan's religion very much coloured the manner in which the interview proceeded?

She explained she was following legal advice from her Solicitor to remain silent. To virtually accuse her of having been schooled/trained in IRA/PIRA methods as a result of exercising that legal right was completely outrageous. Surely you accept this? The implications of his behaviour affect all of Scotland if we tolerate behaviour of this kind from any police officer. Because it is discrimination on the grounds of religion and that, in case you don't know, is illegal. No one in Scotland should ever wish to see a police officer behaving like that. There is no place for it here if we are all meant to be equal.

The other matter, the release of classified information, Crown evidence no less, by Police, to a broadcaster also involves illegal conduct on the part of Lothian and Borders. This is equally serious.

No matter what anyone thinks about the Sheridans these actions should shock all of us if what we want here is a fair and honest justice system. And if you can state here that the complaints raised are not "credible" then you quite clearly favour a Police Force which is above the law and which is not accountable. That is not healthy. Indeed it is extremely dangerous. Which is probably why these matters have even been raised in Parliament. And a very good job too.

Paul L said...

I didn't know that discrimination on the grounds of religion was illegal, how is that so?
You no longer have an absolute right to silence, in as much as the fact that you chose not to talk when invited will no longer be ignored when it comes to assessing your guilt. She's being asked about serious allegations of misconduct, and isn't using her right to answer, the policeman doesn't have to just ignore it as if it's just as good as talking, he has to assume she may have something to hide and will try to provoke her into talking perhaps in the interest of justice and the establishment of the truth.
Right to silence is not a right in the same way that right to religious expression is a right.

Peter said...

Dumber Girl,

You are right of course - that comment is legally imbecilic.

Why on earth should Gail have let the Crown put all those horrendous, hurtful allegations to her - that the police had put to and which she had to after listen to through this trial and the last?

If your innocent plead Not Guilty. Just let them prove their case. It was all dropped in the end, as expected, so well done to her and her QC.

I don't mind those comments so much as the deranged abuse against Tommy and especially Gail who is innocent.

Reading those comments I can see what Sheridan says when he says it is so bitter up there now it has driven people to do and say very bad things.

I suggest if you see people saying stuff like that on forums like the Record (which has a high readership) that you log in and put them right as much as you can.

There are always more readers than posters so you may have an influence for the good even if you do not win around your fellow posters.

Probably go down better with the Daily Record lot if the comments from a Scottish girl than a Scouse lad.

The posters here are more cosmopolitan though so I presume they don't mind where I am from.



Jo G said...

Paul L, I suggest you read up on discrimination and equality law. You will even find reference to it on Lothian and Borders own site. It is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of race, religious beliefs, gender or sexual orientation.

Furthermore the right to remain silent is part of the justice system and is indeed a legal right. It isn't convenient for Police when people choose to remain silent: nevertheless it is a legal option.

I am not suggesting the Police Officer needed to ignore it. What I am saying is that he had no right to imply that by exercising that particular option she was "schooled" or "trained" in the methods of illegal Irish republican terrorist groups. That is what he did and the footage of it is now in the public domain. His conduct was illegal.

It is imperative that Police in Scotland are seen to treat people fairly. This example is not reassuring and Lothian and Borders Police owe the entire country an explanation and an apology.

The leaking of the classified material to the media was also illegal.

Paul L said...

Hi Jo. I don't think there's a law that stops him from implying that she was schooled or trained in IRA methods. If there is one, please point me to it. Forces guidelines are not necessarily law. The Police Force, like all employers, is subject to anti-discrimination legislation for employment purposes: they cannot fire someone for being black/a woman/gay/catholic. But they can and do discriminate in the course of their duties. If they stop and search people during a wave of anti-terrorism measures post 9-11, are they going to stop more 20 something dark-skinned men than 70 year old ginger-haired grannies? You bet. And they will openly admit to this.
I studied at St Andrews during William's 'reign' there ;) I had numerous encounters with the law ;) only to report vandalism to my car or property or a local-on-student attack. They didn't just take your name or DOB. They wanted to know where you were born. And there were no irishmen staying in the Halls of Residence where Willie was at. Funny that.
The English Police Caution advises of the right to silence but also that it may harm their defence if they do not say something which they later rely on in court. This does not appear to be in the Scottish Caution. But in Scotland the same rule applies really? (later rely on in court?).

Peter said...

Coulson just resigned. It's all coming apart at the seams for the NOTW. In the middle of Blairs testimony and the Johnson scandal - good day to bury bad news. Old habits die hard. Well done to Tommy for getting him on oath denying knowledge of phone tapping. Let's see the scoffers who criticised Sheridan for bringing him to court. What else will this trial bring. As for the nothing to see here move on please crowd who thought this was all over - comments please.

Anonymous said...

Bunc was right, BBC headline news - Andy Coulson has resigned.

Anonymous said...

His conduct was not "illegal". That's a ludicrous assertion which I'm surprised to see published here.

A Passer By said...

Andrew Coulson has just resigned from Cameron's office. Allegedly about to be hung out to dry by suspended NOW editor Edmonson...

mcginty said...

So Andy Coulson's gone. Well, well, on a day for burying bad news, the cynical part of me says. Who knows whether he was innocent or guilty, but as his political views are a stench in my nostrils, I'm quite glad he's away, as long as they don't get someone worse to replace him. Such apparatchiks we can do without.

m said...

Meant to put in url

The_Voice_of_Spleen said...

Okay James I'll re-word what I wanted to say:-

"Whilst the plod treatment of Mrs Sheridan was nasty and small-minded some folk here are bigging it up to be far worse than it was.

The leaking of the footage was/is a disgrace and the BBC should not have shown it.

Meantime Tommy Sheridan remains convicted by a jury of his peers of giving perjured evidence in the Court of Session proceedings he chose to bring."

Claire T said...

I can understand why the Sheridan's are trying to deflect attention away from themselves but this Sectarian claim is a step too far.!!!

As a practising Catholic myself i find GS attempt to drag religion into this sordid mess deplorable.

The police have a duty to investigate crime. If she had nothing to hide why did she not simply state that. Why stare at a wall for hours if you have nothing to hide?

The policeman simply asked her who had schooled her in this technique which is common to terrorist organisations such as PIRA? He was simply stating a fact. He did not accuse her of being a member.

As for the police rendevous at Ranger F.C. this area is the main motorway exit link in the Cardonald area and makes perfect sense for cars coming from different areas to meet here.

Paul L said...

There are a million reasons for staring into space or focussing on a specific point that have nothing to do with IRA/PIRA training, so many that to suggest it is kind of ludicrous. So ludicrous that you would think he was just doing it to have a pop. So ludicrous that you would think there was some kind of anti-catholic sentiment behind it.
It's pretty coarse. Not illegal though.

Anonymous said...

this is how the rest of l&b police edinburgh streets at night lol

Jo G said...

Paul L, I have pointed out what you need to know in terms of the law. If you choose to pretend not to understand there really isn't much to add.

All Scots are equal and for Police Officers to drag a person's religion into an interview is sectarian. I don't care whether it is done to a catholic, a protestant, a jew or a muslim. It is wrong and that is why we have laws against it. In this case the person had no known association with Irish terrorist groups and her detention had nothing to do with such matters. The footage speaks for itself, literally.

We have huge problems in Scotland with sectarianism on both sides. It is imperative therefore that Police do not get caught up in such conduct. It is not acceptable.

I also do not care about the identity of the person that it is done to. The identities here, the Sheridans, are irrelevant and for me these particular issues are not about them: the focus is on Police conduct, conduct which, on at least two counts, was appalling.

Similarly we simply cannot have Police leaking Crown evidence illegally to the media.

Jo G said...

The police cannot discriminate against any person because of disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. "

This is not about employment in the police: it is about their treatment of anyone in their custody.

Paul L said...

Thanks Jo for pointing that out to me. Just as a final point, could you tell me the name of the law that prohibits the police from 'dragging a person's religion into an interview' and the one that prohibits Police from 'leaking this video'. Cuz I don' tthink there is a law against either.

knock knock said...

Paul L said...

Data Protection act

Paul L said...

Hi knock knock, I think you could be on to something there. I suppose they are breaching the Act if they have not said that they would disclose such personal details like personally identifiable information and interviews from video tapes, or they are disclosing them for reasons other than stated in the Register (eg if the purpose stated is 'fighting crime') and the relevant conviction is in place. However the police do often release video interviews to the public, so I'm guessing they had themselves covered in this case? I can't find Lothian Police in the register of Data Controllers...

knock knock said...

paul l...

the police have in the past given out interview videos of convicted persons but i cant remember when the gave out anything of an aquitted person! all her prints, pic's and dna will have to be disposed of so why release the video?

my guess is the bbc got it prio to the aquital of mrs s. they made the programme or 95% of it prior to the verdict and didnt want to do an edit of what they thougt was juicy.

the other thought i have on it is the defence passed the video to the bbc to rubbish l&b "flute band" police force.

if indeed its the latter here we go with a rerun of the first liable.

ofcourse the police could have released mr s's tape and her tape could have misteriously got to the bbc.

Max said...

Claire T,

Maybe you dont have a real local knowledge and just did a quick search on google maps and noted that Ibrox was reasonably close to Cardonald.
And, you didnt notice while googling that closer still and actually on the same road as the target of the operation, there's a big Police Station, a nice big modern brick Police Station where no expense has been spared with its million pound wall around its vehicle park designed to protect against terroroist bombs. I mean had you noticed this or known of it you would never have suggested that it made pefect sense to meet at Ibrox. You would at least have paused for thought and then presumably been stymied for a answer like the rest of us.

You would have thought to yourself- with this facility available why choose Ibrox.?
Surely there couldnt be sectarian over tones?.

The doubt would have to be there. Being charitable you might have thought, well maybe the boys just wanted a few beers, a game of snooker or whatever and maybe a wee tour round the trophy room prior to the raid. Maybe it was just more attractive than the big Police Station and they wanted to make a day out of it. And perhaps they didnt think it would become public knowledge?.

But then you would ask yourself how could thay be so crass and insensitive to the signals this might give out if it did become public knowledge. Half the city of Glasgow rightly or wrongly would immediately construe bigotry at work.

You might conclude that perhaps in there arrogance they didnt give it much thought or care about how it was interpreted.

But what was that again about dragging religion into it?

Claire T said...


If half of these police officers are found to 'kick with the other foot' wont it rather blow this Sectarian Conspiracy Theory out of the Deep Blue Sea.

Max said...

Claire T

With your notion about Ibrox making 'perfect sense' somewhat in tatters, you seem doggedly determined to defend the actions of L&B Police.

I can only imagine that you have not read about the raid on the house and observations thereon whether on this blog or elsewhere.

I would certainly be interested as I'm sure would many others in anything of a factual nature that you can root out such as the make up of the squad.

I've a nagging feeling however that you aren't interested in the facts but I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

Yours in hopeful anticipation.

Claire T said...


Sorry don't have any insider info on the make up of the squad.

Are you really suggesting that the police targeted TS solely because he was born a catholic??? In that case none of us catholics are safe - is that what you are really suggesting? ?

That, in my view, is as ludicrous as the statement made to Professor Gregor Gall by TS and family that when TS was young he wasn't signed to play for Rangers FC because he was catholic. If he was that good a player don't you think Celtic or some of the other Scottish clubs would have signed him ?

I am not defending all of the police actions or suggesting that issues relating to sectarianism in society do not exist however,what i do object to is when people use shields to deflect responsibility of their own actions.

TS blames everyone for what he has brought on himself. That is what some personality types do and is unfortunately a fact of life.

Why the police met up at Ibrox is a question they can answer themselves - maybe there was more car parking facilities i don't know but if TS lived near Parkhead and they met at Celtic F.C. would it be a papish plot because he is an athiest??

Sectarianism is too serious an issue to bandy about to suit ones own purposes.

Claire T.