Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Verdict Aftermath

Duncan Brown, a freelance photographer, has kindly allowed us to post some photographs taken in the aftermath of Tommy Sheridan's guilty verdict last Thursday. Of all the pictures I have seen taken from  outside the court that day these are, in my opinion, the best. 

You can find more of Duncan's work on his Flicker Page Here

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Grounds for Appeal?

Amongst this weekend's barrage of articles in the press about Tommy Sheridan's conviction for perjury was this piece from Andrew Whitaker in Scotland on Sunday . Mr Whitaker quotes "A source close to the Sheridan camp" as saying that Mr Sheridan's legal team " will start to put together an appeal against the conviction within a matter of days." and gives some of the grounds on which they may do so. As well as this possibly opening up a new chapter in the case it also gives us an opportunity to discuss some of the legal arguments that occurred during the trial that we could not report at the time.

Firstly however I'd like to caution readers about interpreting the verdict. Many people in the comments on this site and elsewhere seem to believe that the jury's decision means that the twelve women and two men on the jury must have believed all of the Crown witnesses and disbelieved all of the defence witnesses. This is not necessarily correct. Some people may recall the hypothetical case of "Frank the bank robber" which featured many times in our comments section as a way to discuss legal issues without breaching the contempt of court rules then in place. To continue that analogy for a moment, just because Frank was convicted does not mean the jury necessarily believed both Rosie the bank clerk and Officer Dibble the policeman. They may have done of course, or they may have thought Rosie was too short sighted and Constable Dibble  too drunk to identify Frank, yet were convinced by the CCTV footage of the robbery. Alternatively they may have concluded that  the CCTV footage was too blurry for identification purposes but that Rosie was a reliable witness. There is simply no way to know. 

Similarly in the Sheridan case we cannot conclude that the verdict means a particular witness was believed or not. For example the jury may have concluded that the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) executive members who testified that Mr Sheridan admissions at the 9/11/04 meeting were telling the truth, or they may have decided that they had a motive to lie, could not be trusted but that the "McNeilage video" proved that the admissions has been made. Alternatively the jury may have concluded that the video was a "concoction", as the defence contended but that the Executive members were reliable and telling the truth, those outside the ranks of the jury can never know for sure. In court Mr Sheridan often put to witnesses "the jury in the 2006 case thought you were lying" to which the Advocate Depute would always object on the grounds no-one could know what was in the mind of the 2006 jury. Those objections were always upheld. So, with that in mind  let us look at the issues, some given in the article above and some that are not,  that could be possible grounds for appeal. Please note I have not the legal knowledge to know if these are valid grounds for appeal or am I expressing an opinion on the validity or otherwise of the issues in relation to the verdict.

Any questions?

We are just putting together a post on some of the legal arguments in the trial that we could not report at the time, as they occurred outside the presence of the jury. 

If anyone has any specific questions they would like us to try and answer, could they email them to us or put them in the comments. 



Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Social Media" and the Sheridan Trial

I was asked last week if I would write a piece about my experience of blogging the trial of Tommy and Gail Sheridan and what that could tell us about the role of blogging and other "social media" in covering criminal cases. I completed it on Thursday while we were awaiting the verdict.  I've posted a copy below, I hope readers will find it useful.

On Thursday 23rd of December, after hearing  46 days of evidence from 68 witnesses, a jury of 12 women and 2 men finally delivered their verdict of guilty against Tommy Sheridan. People outside Scotland may be unaware of how big a story this was, Tommy Sheridan is still the best known political figure in Scotland and even before it began his perjury trial was already dominating the media. I could also see, through conversations with people on both sides, what bitter divisions within the left in Scotland, of which I am a member, the case was causing. Just before the trial began I decided to write an account of the proceedings, I hoped that creating, in so far as I could, a fair an accurate account of what happened in court would help people follow the trial on the basis of accurate information, not tabloid tittle tattle.  In the three months since it began  The blog has been mentioned in the Scottish parliament,reached half a million page views. and, I would suggest, has raised new questions about the role of social media in the reporting of the administration of justice in Scotland.

At the end of the first week of the trial. by a journalist who had seen me taking notes in court and asked “who I was with ” I answered “I'm doing a blog" he did not appear particularly impressed.   I had no legal training but had checked the rules around contempt of court and decided that as long as I stuck to what was said in the presence of the jury I would be within the law. On the second week, when Tommy Sheridan sacked his QC, there was a debate amongst the journalists if they could report that. Two decided that they could and phoned their offices with the news, We then returned to court to be told by the judge that this matter could not be mentioned until the jury had been informed. It was instructive  to watch senior reporters leap up and run out of court to get their story pulled and a lesson to keep being careful about what I posted.

Another consequence of Tommy Sheridan’s decision to represent himself was that it raised the drama of the trial to new heights. The accused,  one of the best orators of his political generation, directly faced his accusers. At times the scenes seemed more like an argument in a pub rather that a High Court trial, as former friends attacked each other as “liars” and “fantasists.” Two prosecution witnesses were cited for contempt of court and one convicted. We also saw Andrew Coulson, David Cameron’s chief media adviser, being questioned about his role in phone hacking while students and police were battling on the streets of London. It was rumored in court that Mr Coulson was not happy about being told that he could not use his phone in the witness room telling staff, “that could be the Prime Minister calling!” He was informed that the rules applied to everyone, including him.

As the trial continued even some  journalists began to admit that they read the blog, and no-one had any complaints about it’s accuracy.  What everyone asked about though was the comments I was posting, I was told on a number of occasions that if anything was going to get me into legal trouble it was that. To me blogging without comments isn’t blogging, the only advantage social media has over conventional media is it’s ability to promote interactivity between writer and readers. However approving comments began to be a full-time job in itself at the peak times we could be receiving 250  a day, of which around 100, if published, would have potentially laid me open to a charge of contempt of court. To date we have allowed nearly 6000 comments and deleted around 2000. At first the site was mostly read by people in Scotland, by the end however our biggest source of page views became London and we were being read, and getting comments from the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

As the case neared it’s climax the bitterness and hatred the case was stirring up grew to new levels.  On an average day I would be dealing with comments and emails threatening me with being reported to the authorities, sued for defamation, jailed for contempt or just beaten to a pulp. On the other hand it was people posting encouragement  for my work that kept me going as the case dragged on into winter. I knew that if I made a factual mistake someone would spot it and post a comment correcting it. I didn’t have any sub-editors but had thousands of fact checkers.

The other thing I began to see was a change in the attitude towards me in the court itself. Not long into the case I had been taken out of court by the police and told I could not take notes as I was not a “bona fide journalist.” The Clerk of the court however spoke to them and told the police that I should be allowed to take notes and indeed later on in the case I did not even have to join the long queue up to get into the public gallery and was allowed to sit in the press section. Lawyers and journalists began to give me background information. One dark Friday evening, as I was leaving court,  a woman was berating a leading Television journalist for his coverage and on noticing me shouted “why can’t you be more like him, the blogger.” I hurried away. The broadcaster approached me on the Monday after told  me that I was “lucky” as “I only have two minutes to report the case every day you can write as much as you want.”

Courts are open to the public for a reason. Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. Anyone, in print, on TV or online, has a duty to report a live criminal case responsibly. The stakes in court are high. Witnesses have their reputations on the line, accused persons their liberty.  However a criminal trial is the only high profile news event that is never broadcast on television, played on the radio or filmed for posterity. All that the public usually  have to rely on to make a judgement about the evidence given in court are short television reports or summaries in the newspapers.  In this case thousands of people were anxious to know the details of who had said what in court, and to give their opinions on the testimony and the evidence. It was noticeable that our readership always peaked after TV news bulletins, people seemed to want to find out more that the three minute reports they had just seen. They also wanted to express their opinions about the progress of the case, opinions that often seemed to be better informed that those of many of the pundits.

Of course most people will have got their news about the “Trial of the Decade,” as one tabloid dubbed it, through the newspapers and Television. The role of our site was to provide more specialist coverage to those who wanted more in depth coverage, which at around 13,000 people a day was a lot more than I ever expected. I know from discussions with people involved in the legal system that the courts in both England and Scotland are debating the benefits and possible pitfalls of blogs , twitter and facebook in the reporting of high profile cases. I’d like to think our site showed that this can be done responsibly and I would suggest that Here is a field where social media can add a very useful element to the public’s understanding of crime and punishment.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ian Hamilton QC

Ian Hamilton QC has written an analysis of the current trial that I believe would be interest to many readers of this site. Mr Hamilton states that. in his opinion;

"The News of the World has at last won its vendetta against a left wing politician. It has done so with the connivance of the Lord Advocate. If at first you don’t succeed keep trying. Scottish justice has notched up another political miscarriage of justice alongside that of Al Megrahi and Muir of Huntershill. "

The full  article can be found here Here. For background, readers may also find Mr Hamilton's entry on wikipedia of interest. 


Scottish legal Blogger Lallands Peat Worrier has written a reply to Mr Hamilton's piece, this can be found Here

"The Rise and Lies of Tommy Sheridan"

We thought some readers from outside our fair land  might like to be made aware  that BBC Scotland broadcast a documentary  titled "The Rise and lies of Tommy Sheridan," on the night of the verdict.  Without commenting on the conclusions it draws I do think it is a useful piece giving readers the chance to see the main protagonists in the case being interviewed on camera and make their own jugement on their demeanor. 

You can find the documentary Here

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.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tommy Sheridan found guilty of Perjury

At 3.40 today the jury in the case of HM Advocate v Sheridan returned and gave their verdict. A hushed court heard the jury's spokesperson declare that by a majority, the verdict was one of guilty on the charge of perjury.

The Clark of the court then asked if their were any parts of the indictment the jury wished to delete. The court was told that the jury wished to remove the parts  relating to Anvar Khan and one part of the charge that had  stated that said that Mr Sheridan had a sexual relationship with Katrine Trolle, the section  that she had visited his home in Paisley Road West. These parts of the charge are therefore not proved.

Lord Bracadale thanked the jury for their service and, due to the length of this trial excused them from jury duty for the next eight years. The court then heard from the Advocate Depute who informed the judge of Mr Sheridan's criminal record, which he said were mainly charges relating to "protest activities."  Lord Bracadale then asked Mr Sheridan to rise and informed him that he would continue to grant Mr Sheridan bail but when he returned for sentencing, on the 26th of January 2011 Mr Sheridan should "expect to be sentenced to prison". The court then adjourned.

Full report to follow.

Thursday Morning Update: Jury Continue to deliberate

This morning the jury in the case of Her Majesties Advocate vs Thomas Sheridan retired to further consider their verdict. The jury have still not reached a conclusion and have now (at 1pm) been sent for lunch.

In the meantime, posts for all yesterday's proceedings are now available below.

We have been asked a number of questions about what jury has to decide and possible verdicts. To convict Mr Sheridan of perjury a majority vote of guilty is required (not a unanimous vote as in may other legal jurisdictions. The jury originally contained fifteen people, the norm for Scottish Criminal cases. One juror has now been discharged but this does not change the requirement for a conviction from eight, a vote of seven vs seven is an acquittal. The further complication, unique to Scottish law, is that the jury have three, not two verdicts to choose from, "Guilty," "Not Guilty" and "Not Proven". This is not the place for a full discussion of the Not Proven verdict, suffice to say it leads to acquittal. Therefore a jury vote of, for example of seven guilty, three not guilty and four not proven would lead to Mr Sheridan being cleared of the charges.

We are at court and will be posting any verdict reached or other developments as soon as we can.

As mentioned below comments will remain disabled until the conclusion of the case.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lord Bracadale's Charge to the jury.

Report by Whatsy

Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge in the case, began his summation by directing the jury that "only they and they alone" could decide on the facts of the evidence, and that there were some particular consequences of this for this case. Lord Bracadale informed the jury that although the case involved Socialist politicians, their political views should not matter to the jury, whether they agreed or “vociferously disagreed” with them.

Lord Bracadale directed the jury that this was “not a court of sexual morals”, and neither was it about the morality of telling lies, and that the jury's task was to decide whether the accused had lied in court under affirmation.

Lord Bracadale continued that the jury should put out of their mind any sympathy they may have, and that the consequences of conviction on the accused should be put out of their minds as it was “not a matter to fix your judgment on in any way”, as this was a matter solely for Lord Bracadale himself.

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 11: Conclusion.

After concluding the previous section of his summation with the words “either I'm a liar or I'm no'”, Mr Sheridan moved on, stating that it was generally rare for a defence to cite a witness who would harm their case, but that he had a sense of greater responsibility to the standards of public life, and that was why he had cited Glenn Mulcaire and Andy Coulson as witnesses – not because they would help his case, but by putting Andy Coulson in the witness box he was able to hold him to account.

Mr Sheridan went on to state that although Mr Mulcaire had been called as a witness, he had been unable to attend on medical grounds, but “we'll keep an eye on that one”, and that what the court did know was that Mr Mulcaire had been convicted of phone hacking, and was in possession of a notebook containing Mr Sheridan's name, contact details and PIN codes. Mr Sheridan stated that the Advocate Depute may have been correct when he said that there was no evidence of Mr Sheridan's phone being tapped, but the stopped, retracted this comment, and stated that “if Mr Prentice had said there was “no proof” that my phone was tapped, that would be more accurate”. Mr Sheridan's voice rose as he stated that as Mr Mulcaire had an exclusive contract with News of the World for £105,000, “I think I'm entitled to suggest to you that my phone might have been interfered with”.

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 10 - Katrine Trolle

Mr Sheridan recalled the evidence of Brett Harper, who had testified he had walked Mr Sheridan round to the flat, owned by Duncan Rowan's brother, the accused claims he stayed in when in Aberdeen, how Mr Harper found this memorable as he had handed in his final piece of University coursework that day and had a birthday celebration arranged he had been late for as a result of taking Mr Sheridan to the flat, and that this had got him in trouble with his girlfriend “who is now, sadly, his ex-girlfriend”. Mr Harper had also recalled Mr Sheridan's visit to the Steiner school earlier, and Mr Sheridan suggested to the jury that “his evidence was strong and credible”.

Mr Sheridan mentioned the two Crown witnesses, Ruth Adamson and Ralph Barnett, and how when they testified in 2006, couldn't remember the months of the year, but now claim they remembered the actual date of meeting Mr Sheridan in Kingennie Court, Dundee. Mr Sheridan then suggested to the jury that Brett Harper's evidence on it's own was enough to find reasonable doubt on this part of the charge.

Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to reflect on something the Advocate Depute had put to them in his summation, but that Mr Sheridan was “reluctant to call it evidence”, and that “I'm sure I'll be getting two or three of the belt from Lord Bracadale” for overstepping the mark in his summation, but hoped the Advocate Depute would also get one or two, then recalling how Mr Prentice had shown the beginning of an 0161 Manchester area telephone number from Mr Sheridan's diary which, in place of the final digit, had the numbers “3 or 5”, or “3.5” as the Advocate Depute had put it, before suggesting to the jury “this could be a code, this could be disguised”. Mr Sheridan then stated that this had never been presented as evidence from a witness and it was “not the Advocate Depute's job to invent evidence – 'perhaps he's hiding it from his wife'”, going on to state that in the deleted charge against his wife Gail Sheridan, she had been accused of witnessing Mr Sheridan phone directory enquiries for the Cupid's club. Mr Sheridan then suggested that, in the days before more modern directory enquiry technology when someone told you over the phone the number you were looking for, it was not unreasonable to expect you might write the number down, and that “you might write down the number with the couple of digits you thought it was, and you might get it wrong”.

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 9 - The Witnesses

Mr Sheridan reminded the jury of Jim Monaghan's evidence, described by the Advocate Depute as “the leafletter”, who had testified that he had been at the CCA SSP People's Festival to distribute leaflets on the night of 27-Sep-2002 and to remind Mr Sheridan to attend the Cumnock Keir Hardy Commemoration the following week. Mr Monaghan had said Mr Sheridan was the only SSP EC member in attendance at the CCA, and Mr Sheridan suggested he was honest and credible, and compared him to Alison Kane's testimony, when she had testified that the CCA event was memorable to her, as Mr Sheridan put it, “because it was her birthday on the Monday”.

Mr Sheridan moved on to the “McNeilage Tape”, stating that there had been no expert witnesses called regarding the tape, and “you might like to reflect why”, and that regarding this “News of the World video”, “I want you to consider, hand on heart, do you have reasonable doubt?”. Mr Sheridan ten suggested that after nine witnesses testified that they did not think it was Mr Sheridan on the tape, “you may have reasonable doubt”.

Regarding the SSP witnesses who had appeared for the Crown, Mr Sheridan asked the jury to “reflect on possible bile, hatred and vitriol” in their evidence, that “yes, I want you to consider their demeanour”.

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 8: The Witnesses

Mr Sheridan began the second day of his summation by reminding the members of the jury that yesterday he had ended while discussing Carol Alan. He reminded the jury of Mrs Alan's testimony  when she had stated that when you answered the phone you "just knew" who it was if you knew the person well. Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider that "my voice is regularly mimicked" giving the example of Des Mclean, a Scottish comedian who regularly impersonates Mr Sheridan. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to recall the testimony of witnesses who had told them they believed the voice on the tape was that of a "mimic," suggesting that this evidence "raised a reasonable doubt."

Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to recall the evidence of Thomas Montgomery, adding that this was testimony that was "suggested I would not want you to remember." Mr Sheridan asked the jury to recall that the Advocate Depute had referred to Mr Montgomery as a "complete liar," stating "well I don't think there is a basis for that allegation." Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider that the Advocate depute had "in no shape or form asked you to consider" Mr Montgomery's " testimony on the video." Mr Sheridan then put to the jury Mr Montgomery's job, as a training manager in a call centre meant "he worked with voices every day." Mr Sheridan then asked the asked the jury to "reflect on the answer" Mr Montgomery had given to the Advocate Depute when he had asked "what is it about the voice" that had convinced him that it was not that of Mr Sheridan. Mr Montgomery had answered "the tone, the pitch and the pace," Mr Sheridan then stated "the Advocate Depute quickly moved on."

Wednesday Afternoon update

At 3.36pm today, after Lord Bracadale's summing up, the jury left court to consider their verdict. At 4.30 Lord Bracadale reconvened the court and informed the jury that he was adjourning their deliberations until tomorrow morning, the court then rose. We will be posting reports later tonight on the conclusion of Mr Sheridan's summation and the directions given to the jury by Lord Bracadale.

NB due to the stage the case has reached we will be suspending comments until the verdict is returned. Any comments received will, unfortunately, have to be deleted. If anyone wishes to contact us we can be reached by email at

Wednesday Morning update

After forty six days of evidence, the trial of Tommy Sheridan has almost reached it's conclusion. Mr Sheridan concluded his summation at around 11.30 this morning and Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge, has commenced his summing up. After the conclusion of Lord Bracadale's advice to the jury on matters of law, the jury will retire to consider it's verdict.

We will, of course bring you any updates as soon as we can.

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 7: The Conclusion of Day One.

The High Court of Glasgow, Interior View (Via STV)
When the court reconvened at around 3pm this afternoon,  Mr Sheridan again rose from his seat in the dock to address the jury. He told the "ladies and gentlemen" that he apologised that he would not be finishing his summation today as there were "so many points to be made." Mr Sheridan added I am speaking for my life here."

Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to recall that before the adjournment he had been asking them to "consider the demeanor of George McNeilage" and he had suggested that his "testimony had been bought and paid for" and suggested to the jury that they may not regard Mr McNeilage as "credible or reliable."  Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to reflect on the other witnesses the prosecution had asked to testify that it was his voice on the disputed tape. Mr Sheridan then stated that none of those who had spoken to the matter on behalf of the Crown were "independent witnesses."

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 6: The McNeilage tape

George McNeilage

At this point in his summation, Tommy Sheridan turned to what he called the "single most important piece of evidence in the case, the video, or should I say, the audio." Mr Sheridan reminded the jury that the Crown had played them the tapes "several times" at least, as he put it, "the thirty eight minutes not the missing 18 minutes." Mr Sheridan asked the jury to consider that this was the "fulcrum of the Crown case" and suggested that without it "there might not even be a case."

Mr Sheridan then suggested one question about the tape was when it was made?  George McNeilage had stated 2004, while witness William Moore had initially  testified that it was made in 2006 before being, as Mr Sheridan put it, "reminded " during his testimony about a previous police statement.  Mr Sheridan then stated "I say prove the unknown, where is the forensic report? Where are the expert witnesses?" 

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 5: The Forensics issue

After the section of his summation on the role Mr Sheridan claimed the News of the World had played in the case, Mr Sheridan turned to the question of his diaries, which have been a much viewed set of exhibits in this case. Speaking to the jury Mr Sheridan said "my diaries, I would suggest to you have fatally undermined the Crown case and form a basis for you to find me not guilty."

 Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider that he had no access to his diaries since 2007 and that they were "unaltered and untampered." Mr Sheridan continued that his diaries "don't rant and rave from the witness box" and do not "spew bile." Instead, Mr Sheridan suggested the diary entries "establish as reasonable doubt." Mr Sheridan then stated that the Crown case against him, "after four years and two million pounds" was "not only weak, it was verging on the pathetic." He then asked the jury if they might like to consider "where is the forensic evidence?"

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 4: The News of the World

Mr Sheridan then moved on from the issue of the indictment (see report below) and asked the jury to recall the Avocate Depute's statement yesterday that he Crown case "had nothing to do with the News of the World (NotW) Mr Sheridan stated "I beg to differ, the Notw is at the heart of this case."  Mr Sheridan then put  to the jury a number of points to illustrate his argument;

  • "It is NotW video the Advocate Depute relies on and plays to you"
  • It was NotW photographs the police showed to witnesses
  • It was the NotW that "gave names to police for them to investigate
  • That it was the NotW that had passed Mr Sheridan's phone records to the police
  • That it was the NotW that "paid or offered to pay eight important witnesses in this case"

Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider what he called the "cosy meeting" between NotW editor Bob Bird and Lothian and Borders police saying that the investigation on him was launched "the next day." He also stated that that despite the video being part on an ongoing criminal investigation the NotW had been allowed to publish further extracts on the 8th of October 2006, asking the jury  "is this what the police normally do?" Mr Sheridan then added "with me ten officers stormed my house" Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider that when the NotW had published more extracts for the video after the official investigation had started "why didn't the police arrest Bob Bird [The Scottish Editor of the NotW] for contempt of court. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 3: The Deleted parts of the Indictment.

Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

When court reconvened, with the public gallery fuller than ever as the police had re-opened the two front rows,  Mr Sheridan rose in the dock to continue his summation speech to the jury. Mr Sheridan reminded the jury that he had been discussing the subornation charge laid against him in relation to Colin Fox (see report below) Mr Sheridan noted that Mr Fox had told the police in a statement that the meeting at which Mr Fox had alleged he had been asked to commit perjury was the 17th June 2006, a date which Mr Fox told the court he had recalled as it was his birthday and Mr Sheridan's wedding anniversary and that he had met the accused after he had "spent the night in an Edinburgh hotel.  Mr Sheridan then brought into evidence his diary for that year, which had been in the possession of the police since the raid on his home on the 16th December 2007. Mr Sheridan pointed to the entry in the diary  for the 16th June 2006 which stated " stay night in Lochside hotel in Cumnock"  and reminded the jury that during his defence he had produced a receipt for that day from the hotel. He asked that if the police had his diary, and it referred to such a serious charge "had the police checked it out" saying that at least "there would have been a phone call or an email" or even a "visit with coffee and muffins"

Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to consider why this was not done, was it because "inconvenient" and would "undermine the charges against me?" Mr Sheridan reminded the jury that when he had dropped the subornation charge he charged the jury "not to let it effect your view of Mr Fox." Mr Sheridan then said "I beg to differ" Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to recall the testimony of his sister Lynn Sheridan on the events of that day stating "that it shows him [Mr Fox] to be a liar. He then asked the jury to reflect on why the Crown in this case had not checked if he had been at the Lochside hotel on the night in question, stating to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, "This has been a fair and even handed case from the start, and the moon is made of cheese."

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 2: The Police Investigation

In the second section of his summation (for the first part see post below) Tommy Sheridan turned to the topic of the police investigation of the case. Mr Sheridan told the ladies and gentlemen of the jury that since October 6th 2006, "four long years ago" he and his wife had been investigated by Lothian and Borders police. Mr Sheridan asked the jury to recall the testimony of Detective Sergeant Harkness who had told the court that the Sheridan's were the "focus " of the police investigation "from the outset" stating that "between fourteen and twenty one police officers looked into every aspect of our lives" Mr Sheridan went to on tell the jury that during the police investigation "our families were visited, our friends were visited" adding that on the 16th December 2007, "nine days before Christmas" that "ten police officers" had searched his family home for "eight hours."
Mr Sheridan then asked the jury to recall the testimony they had heard relating to that police search, how his daughter Gabrielle, who was then two years old, had "hidden behind the sofa"that his wife Gail "was in shock" and that the police had taken away his daughter's party dress and her "reindeer antlers", as evidence.  Mr Sheridan asked the jury to recall  that he had put it to DS Harkness that he should have been "ashamed" , not just over the search, not just for keeping an "innocent woman who had never been in a police station for five hours and for following legal advice being called  a "trained terrorist" but for ignoring "significant inconsistencies" from those "who gave evidence for the News of the World in 2006."

Tommy Sheridan's Summation Part 1: Introduction.

NB as with yesterdays summation by the Advocate Depute we will, for reasons of space, be splitting our report into separate sections.

There was not a seat to be had in court number four at the High Court of Glasgow when Tommy Sheridan rose, just after 12 noon, to address the address the jury. Speaking from the dock, unlike the Advocate Depute who spoke from a lectern in front of the jury, Mr Sheridan began by apologising in advance to the jury about about "what will be a lengthy and time consuming summation speech." Mr Sheridan then told the jury "I hope you understand but my life is at stake" and added that he had a "wee girl and a loving wife at home" and that "if you decide to convict me I will be separated from them for a considerable time." Mr Sheridan stated that his aim was "to do that I can to convince you that there are far too many reasonable doubts on the six remaining charges" for the jury to convict him. 

Mr Sheridan then reminded the jury that the Advocate Depute had, in his summing up yesterday to "think about Barbara Scott" adding "I hope you did" Mr Sheridan said that yesterday the Advocate Depute had "posed a question," why had Barbara Scott handed in her notes to the police if she knew they were a fabrication. Mr Sheridan suggested to the jury that they may like to ask themselves if this was motivated by "indignation" and a desire to clear her name why had she "invited the press and television along" However he also said there was a "more fundamental question relating to Ms Scott and this was "not why she handed in the notes when she did" but "why did she not take them out of her handbag in the first place."

The Crown Summing Up, Conclusion

After the showing of the "McNeilage Tape," Alex Prentice QC, the Advocate Depute, suggested to the "ladies and gentlemen of the jury" that they should "reject the proposition" that the "McNeilage tape" (see report below) was concocted by the News of the World stating that if that this was true it was "pretty poor." The Advocate Depute then suggested that as well on the voice on the tape that the jury "consider the content," and additionally ask themselve's "why the tape is so long." Mr Prentice stated that the jury should consider that if a "concocted" tape was required why one was not produced that "showed a short event" as anything other than that risked "exposing the conspiracy." He also queried why Bob Bird, the Scottish editor of the News of the World, would give details, "including the details of his boxer shorts" unless he was giving a true account, and asked why, if Mr Baldessara and Mr McCombes knew that Mr Sheridan did not swear, did they include swearing in any script for the tape.

Mr Prentice mentioned the evidence of Susan Dobbie and the miniature bottles of wine, stating that this may seem small and insignificant by itself, but that the jury should "bear in mind the link to an airline".

The Advocate Depute then turned to the matter of "phone hacking" that had been raised in the case, suggesting it was irrelevant to the charge. He reminded the jury of the testimony of Detective Chief Superintendent Williams who had told them that there "was no evidence" that Mr Sheridan's voicemail had been accessed illegally. Mr Prentice went on to suggest that there was no information contained in the McNeilage tape that had been gathered from any alleged illegal voicemail access, that there was no evidence of phone or voicemail interception, and in particular, there was no evidence of what could be gained by this. 

Mr Prentice also took issue with the suggestion that the Lothian and Borders Police inquiry into had been "biased", while the jury might consider the actions of Officer Grant ill-advised,  the Advocate Depute invited the jury to "reject that" suggestion of bias.

Mr Prentice concluded by asking the jury to wonder why Barbara Scott took the minutes to the police, and that they should conclude that Mr Sheridan did commit perjury in the 2006 trial, that they should "convict Tommy Sheridan on the charge of perjury" and asked them "when they are in the jury room" they should "think about the testimony of Barbara Scott". The Advocate depute then ended his summing up and court was adjourned.

The Crown Summing Up, The "McNeilage Tape"

Report by Whatsy

Mr Prentice first displayed the evidence bags containing the camera, the cables and the micro-cassette pertaining to the McNeilage Tape, and mentioned that although Mr McNeilage had testified that there had been an altercation at the end that he had taped over, the one thing that was unchallenged was that the tape was a film of an event. The challenge, as MR Prentice understood it, was that the man in the film talking to Mr McNeilage was not Tommy Sheridan.

Mr Prentice suggested to the jury that although they might not think it honourable of Mr McNeilage, “a lifelong pal” of Tommy Sheridan, to record a conversation, that doesn't change the fact that it was done.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Crown Summing Up, The "Cupids Visit"

After his summing up on the the "SSP chapter" of evidence (see our previous posts below) Alex Prentice QC, the Advocate Depute, turned to the question of the alleged visit by Mr Sheridan and others to the Cupids club in Manchester. He first asked the jury to "pause for a moment" and consider his assertion that the idea of a "big conspiracy" around the visit to Cupids "doesn't make sense."

Mr Prentice put it to the jury that if the whole story had "been a set-up" by the News of the World why would they "include lots of people." The Advocate Depute said that it was possible to link Anvar Khan to a purported plot by the News of the World, as she had been a journalist with the newspaper and "had a book to promote" However Mr Prentice said was "more difficult" to link Katrine Trolle. to the "plot" , but it could be argued that as a member of the SSP she could have been seeking to be seeking promotion within the party. Mr Prentice then asked the jury to consider why the alleged plotters had "not just stopped there" and queried why they would have included Gary Clarke and Andrew McFarlane, in the story as they could have had "cast iron" alibis for the night. The Advocate Depute then asked the jury to consider the "obvious answer."

The Crown Summing Up, The November 9th Meeting

After concluding his introduction (see previous report), Alex Prentice QC, the Advocate Depute, moved on to the first of what he had termed the "key areas" of the case, the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) Executive meeting held in the 9th November 2004. He reminded the jury that Barbara Scott had produced "handwritten notes" that the witness had said before them were "contemporaneous notes." Mr Prentice then had the notes in question displayed on the screens set around the court and in front of the jury and pointed to both an entry that appeared to be from a previous meeting and what appeared to be an exchange of notes between Barbara Scott and Catriona Grant. The Advocate Depute asked the jury to consider the proposal. made to them by the defence, that these notes were "fabricated", asking the jury if there was really "so sophisticated  a conspiracy." He instead suggested to the jury that these notes had "the ring of truth" 

Mr Prentice then turned to the issue of minutes, an issue that he said the jury had "heard a lot about." He suggested the jury consider that the issue in question was not the minutes themselves but the "recollection of those people at the meeting." If the jury believed the minutes "could assist them" they were free to do so,  however Mr Prentice also asked the jury to consider that if the notes and minutes were a "complete fabrication" and part of an "elaborate conspiracy" then "why on earth would you take them to the police?" The Advocate Depute then asked the jury to consider  that when Barbara Scott had said that she had taken the documents to the police as she was "indignant about being called a liar" she may have been telling the truth. If this was not true then she must have been part of an "sophisticated conspiracy to defeat the ends of justice."

The Crown Summing Up, Introduction

After the changes made to the indictment had been given to the jury (see post below)  Alex Prentice QC, the Advocate Depute rose to sum up the case for the Crown. Moving to the lectern, which has been moved to face the jury rather than the witness box, he began by saying "you could hear a pin drop" adding, "this is how Barbara Scott described the room at the meeting where Tommy Sheridan admitted attending a sex club in Manchester on two occasions." He then "posed the jury a question" asking "why do you think Barbara Scott took her notes of the 9th November 2004 meeting to the police after the conclusion of the civil defamation trial? Ponder on that."

Mr Prentice then said to the jury that when they had been read the indictment at the start of the case they may have wondered about the nature of the crime stating that it was not about "murder, drugs or child abuse" and why the court would be interested "if Tommy Sheridan had sex at a sex club" stating that this was not a crime, involved consenting adults and left "no victims." The reason, Mr Prentice told the jury, was that the crime was perjury, the crime of "knowingly giving false evidence" adding that juries should be able to expect that the evidence they heard to be true. Mr Prentice stated that perjury led to a "denial of justice" for both "the victim and accused," this was "never acceptable in a dignified and mature democracy" and if allowed would cause "our whole justice system to fall apart."  Mr Prentice then said to the jury that he never normally gave an introduction of that sort, but as a defence witness, Hugh Kerr, had expressed the view that this case was "an incredible waste of time and money" he stated that he thought the case appropriate, to show that no-one was "above the law".

Final Indictment

THOMAS SHERIDAN, born 7 March 1964, whose domicile of citation has been specified as ****** 
you are indicted at the instance of The Right Honourable ELISH ANGIOLINI, Queen's Counsel, Her Majesty's Advocate, and the charges against you are that

(2) on 21 July 2   In 2006 at the Court of Session, Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh you THOMAS SHERIDAN being affirmed as a witness in a civil jury trial of an action for defamation then proceeding there at your instance against the News Group Newspapers Limited, 124 Portman Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow as publishers of the News of the World newspaper did falsely depone: -

Monday Morning update

When court reconvened this morning Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge addressed the jury. He advised them that he had allowed further amendments to the indictment and asked them to remove a number of sections. (You can find a copy of the Indictment Here ) Deleted were all sections of the first charge except A, B and C and all charges from the second section except A, B ,C and M, N, and O. This indictment, which began with 19 charges has now been reduced to 6. There has also been an ammendment to Part N of the second charge which did read "that you had an affair with said Anvar Begum Khan in late 1992 for six months only and that you did not have a sexual relationship with her from 1994 to 2002;" The second date has been altered from 2002 to August 2003. We will post a full updated indictment later today.

The court then heard from the Advocate Depute, Alex Prentice QC who began his summing up of the case on behalf of the Crown. Full report to follow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thomas Montgomery

NB this is one of a series of reports we were unable to complete last week. For the record Mr Montgomery testified on the 15th of December.

The fourth witness called to the stand on Wednesday was Thomas Montgomery. Mr Montgomery told the court he was employed as a training manager and had known Mr Sheridan for over 40 years. Mr Montgomery also stated that he Tommy Sheridan and Gary Clark had "grown up together." When asked by Mr Sheridan, who is conducting his own defence, if he considered himself a "friend of Gary Clark" the witness replied, "very much so" 

Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Montgomery  if he had been "following the case" the witness said he had been "to a degree" and had read newspaper and seen television reports on the proceedings. Mr Sheridan asked if he had become aware that the date the Crown was alleging he had visited a "swingers club" was the 27th of September 2002,  Mr Montgomery answered yes. Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Montgomery what his opinion was of the evidence presented in court about that date. At this point the Advocate Depute, Alex Prentice QC, rose to object to this question and Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge asked the jury to leave the court while a legal matter was discussed.

When court reconvened Mr Sheridan asked Mr Montgomery if he had spent time with Gary Clark (whom the crown allege accompanied Mr Sheridan and others to the Cupids club in Manchester) in September 2002. Mr Montgomery said he had, and told the court that at that time Mr Clark's wife had left him and taken their daughter with her. The witness told the court that Mr Clark's "whole world fell apart" and he had "started to drink to forget." Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Montgomery if he could recall if he saw Mr Clark on the 27th of September 2002, the witness said he did.

Phillip Stott

NB this is one of a series of reports we were unable to complete last week. For the record Mr Stott testified on the 14th of December.

On Tuesday Morning the court heard from defence witness Phillip Stott. Mr Stott told the court that he had known the accused, Tommy Sheridan, for twenty six years through their mutual involvement in the Labour Party  Mr Stott also stated that he had been a founding member of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). Mr Sheridan, who is conducting his own defence,  then showed the witness a three minute clip of a video that the Crown assert shows him making various admissions of relevance to the charges against him. Asked for his opinion of the video Mr Stott said to Mr Sheridan that the voice on the tape "was certainly not you" Asked he was sure the witness said "absolutely certain. 

Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Stott if he was aware of the possible serious concequences of not being truthful in court, Mr Stott replied that he was and when asked if he would "risk prison" replied "I have a young family and would like to continue to see them. With that Mr Sheridan thanked the witness and returned to his seat in the dock.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gillian McFarlane

Picture Glasgow Herald
After sitting for forty four days and hearing from sixty seven witnesses (forty two for the Crown and twenty five from the defence) the jury in the case of Her Majesties Advocate against Sheridan and Sheridan heard from the final witness, Gillian McFarlane. Mrs McFarlane told the court that she was a "full-time mum" and previously had worked as a cabin crew member for twenty years. She also confirmed that she was the sister of one of the co-accused Gail Sheridan. Tommy Sheridan, who is representing himself in the case,  opened his examination in chief by asking Mrs McFarlane how the case against her sister had impacted on her family. The witness told the court that it had a "terrible effect on the family and me" adding that seeing "Gail having to come here every day" had affected her and "mum and dad." and that she "couldn't sleep" due to worry.

Mr Sheridan then asked Mrs McFarlane is she had been present at her sister's home when it had been raided by Lothian and Borders police in December 2007. The witness said she had been and was asked to describe what happened. Mrs McFarlane told the court that there had been a total of 10 officers present, four CID and six in, what she described as, "police combat uniform." Mrs McFarlane said her sister gail was in a state of shock while Gabrielle, Mr and Mrs Sheridan's two year old daughter had been "crying and terrified" and "was trying to hide behind the sofa" at this point the witness broke down in tears so Mr Sheridan paused his questioning to allow her a moment to recover.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Update

Day 44 of the trial of HM Advocate v Sheridan and Sheridan saw the end of Tommy Sheridan's defence, the deletion of the remaining parts of the indictment relating to Gail Sheridan and Lord Bracadale announcing the timetable for the last week of the trial.

The final two witnesses to appear for the defence were Carol Allen and Gillian McFarlane. Ms Allen, Tommy Sheridan's sister, testified that she had been residing at Mr and Mrs Sheridan's house for a week in December 2000. Mrs Allen stated that she been there on the night of Thursday 14 December 2000. a date she remembered as Gail Sheridan had been on her way to a christmas night out and had seen Mr Sheridan return from football training. The 14th of December is the date that the prosecution have suggested Katrine Trolle visited Tommy Sheridan at his home. (see Here ) 

Gillian McFarlane, the wife of yesterday's witness Andrew McFarlane, testified that she had been at home with Mr McFarlane on the evening of the 27th September 2004. This is the night the Crown had alleged that Mr Sheridan, Mr McFarlane and others attended a "sex club in Manchester. In addition Mrs McFarlane also told the court about her recollection of Mr and Mrs Sheridan's home being raided by police in December 2007.

Gail Sheridan Acquitted

At the conclusion of Mr Sheridan's defence case this morning the Advocate Depute rose to address the court. Alex Prentice QC stated that he had now had the opportunity to consider his position on the second accused. Gail Sheridan, and had decided that it was 'not in the public interest to proceed. To cheers from the public gallery the presiding judge then formally acquitted Mrs Sheridan.

Full report to follow

Lynn Sheridan - Part 2 - Cross Examination & Re-Examination

As Mr Lavell, in place of the absent Paul McBride QC, counsel for the second accused Mrs Gail Sheridan, declined to examine the witness, the Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC then rose and took to the lectern.

Mr Prentice began by asking the witness whether she lectured students about dealing with the police. Miss Sheridan replied that she did, and that she had a good relationship with the police, particularly Strathclyde Police.

Mr Prentice then asked about the witness's relationship with Dr McKerrell, to which the witness replied “We don't socialise at all”. The Advocate Depute probed that they were colleagues at the same university, but Miss Sheridan responded that they were in different departments. Mr Prentice then put it to the witness that, as the accounts of the same meeting offered by the witness and Dr McKerrell differed greatly, one of them must be lying, and that there was no room for compromise on this. The witness replied “No”.

Mr Prentice then moved on to the journey to Edinburgh that Miss Sheridan had recounted in her earlier testimony, stating that the witness had given lots of detail. The witness responded that she remembered it in detail, as on the way home from Edinburgh she had been involved in a car crash, and that there would be an official record of this as it had involved another car.

Lynn Sheridan - Part 1 - Evidence In Chief

Mr Sheridan began taking the evidence in chief of Lynn Sheridan, witness number one for the second accused, by establishing that although it may seem an artificial, he would be referring to her as Miss Sheridan, then established some personal information with her – that she is 52 years old, jet lagged having just returned from a conference in Brazil, and has a had a very varied professional life, including being a taxi driver, a bus driver for ten and a half years, a social science degree, a postgraduate diploma in social work, managed a children's home, worked for the local authority, and currently lectures in social work at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Mr Sheridan asked whether she recalled a meeting with the accused and Nicky McKerrell at Glasgow Caledonian University, to which the witness agreed that she did, placing the meeting in late January or early February 2005, that it was just before a SSP conference in Perth, and going on to state the purpose of the meeting was to canvass support for Colin Fox in the forthcoming vote for a new convener of the SSP, where he was running against Alan McCombes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Graeme McIvor Cross-Examination

After Mr Sheridan had ended his evidence in chief (see Here) and returned to his seat in the dock, Alex Prentice QC, the Advocate Depute rose to cross-examine Mr McIvor. Mr Prentice began by asking the witness if he had told the truth at the 2006 civil trial (in 2006 Mr Sheridan successfully brought an action for defamation against the News of the World at which Mr McIvor testified) Mr McIvor said he had. The Advocate Depute then asked the witness why he had "been warned by the judge in the absence of the jury" during that case. Mr Sheridan then rose to object that the record of Mr McIvor's 2006 testimony had not  been entered as a production in this case. The Advocate Depute responded that it was not necessary as this was evidence of "prior inconsistency" Lord Bracdale, the judge presiding, agreed the evidence could be presented but to allow copies of the "live note" to be circulated adjourned the court for a short interval.

When the court reconvened Mr Prentice had the Mr McIvor read the record of his testimony at the 2006 case at the Court of Session. The section read to the court contained remarks by the judge in that trial, Lord Turnbull where he had, in part,  to Mr McIvor "in questioning you shifted evidence" warned him he faced "serious consequences" and added "fencing with questions is not acceptable" The Advocate Depute then asked the witness for his comments. Mr McIvor told the court he thought his testimony in 2006 was "understandable" as "we we were all members of the same party and friends" and he was "not going to call anyone a liar. 

Graeme McIvor evidence in chief

The second witness to appear in court number four this morning was Graeme McIvor. Questioned by Tommy Sheridan, who is conducting his own defence, Mr McIvor told the court that he had originally been cited as a Crown witness but had not been called to testify. Mr Mcivor also confirmed that he was the National Secretary of Solidarity, the party set up by Mr Sheridan and others when they left the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) Mr McIvor then told the court that in 2004 he had been the South of Scotland organiser of the SSP and in that capacity was a member of the executive committee of the party. Mr Sheridan asked the witness of he had attended the executive meeting of the 9th of November 2004 at which, the prosecution allege, that Mr Sheridan admitted attending a "sex club" in Manchester. Mr McIvor confirmed that he had, and was asked "what happened."

Mr McIvor told the court that Mr Sheridan had spoken "first or second" and had "categorically denied" that he had visited any "sex club" Mr Sheridan asked, that as other witnesses had given different accounts of the meeting, if could he be mistaken, Mr McIvor stated "I am clear in my recall." Mr Sheridan then asked the witness about what further discussion had taken place after he had left the meeting. Mr McIvor replied "The major view" was that you should not take action against the News of the World and that "courtrooms are not a place socialists should be" adding that the party was in an "acute financial crisis and almost bankrupt" and that he feared they could face "sequestration" and "deep trouble."

Duncan Boyle

Mr Sheridan opened the evidence in chief with Mr Boyle by establishing that he is 73, a retired pipe fitter, and has been married for 55 years.

Mr Sheridan inquired how many children, and then grandchildren, Mr Boyle had, suggesting there were “too many to mention”. Mr Boyle responded “Too many for Christmas”, provoking laughter from the public gallery.

Mr Sheridan then asked how long the witness had known him, getting the response “40 years, man and boy”, and Mr Sheridan then asked how Mr Boyle knew him, with Mr Boyle replying “through football”, and that he had coached Mr Sheridan's team when he was a boy. Mr Sheridan asked “were we a good team?”, and Mr Boyle responded “Muirpark - Oh yes, we were the best team in Pollok”.

Andrew McFarlane - Part 2 - Cross Examination & Re-Examination

After Mr Lavell, acting for Mrs Sheridan in the absence of Paul McBride QC, declined to examine the witness, the prosecution, Advocate Depute Mr Alex Prentice QC rose and moved behind the lectern close to the jury and press section of the gallery.

Firstly, Mr Prentice asked the witness if he had ever attended a Manchester derby football match, which Mr McFarlane denied. The Advocate Depute then asked if the witness if he had no interest in politics, which was confirmed by the witness, followed by Mr Prentice asking if the witness had ever been a member of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) The witness replied “Can't recall”, with the Advocate Depute querying this, and the witness repeating that he could not recall ever being a member of the SSP.

Mr Prentice then asked the witness whether Anvar Khan, Katrinne Trolle and Gary Clark were all lying in their accounts of visiting Cupid's sex club with the witness and Mr Sheridan. Mr McFarlane replied “Yes, that's what I'm saying.”

Andrew McFarlane - Part 1 - Evidence in chief.

Picture: James Galloway

Mr Sheridan began by recapping with Mr McFarlane his evidence from the previous day, confirming with the witness that he had become aware of the importance of the date Friday, 27th September 2002 in relation to this case around six or seven weeks ago during the course of this case. Mr McFarlane replied that regarding this date, he “could access it on the national news”, and that “my picture was on the national news”, going on to describe how he and his wife had discussed whether the hip operation was around that time, that he worked out that he was at home watching the golf, and that his wife had returned to the house around 9pm the evening in question.

Mr Sheridan asked “Are you keen on golf?”, with the witness replying “Very much so”, then describing that the golf he was watching was particularly memorable as it was the bi-annual Ryder Cup tournament, between teams from Europe and USA. Mr McFarlane went on to say that he had contacted his doctor to confirm the dates of the hip arthroscopy surgery, and Mr Sheridan produced a letter from Doctors Cameron, Duthie, Herron & Marshall, dated 13th December 2010, confirming the witness's hip surgery in August 2002 and a further 2 week sick line given to the witness on 26th September 2002. Mr Sheridan asked why the witness had waited until the 13th December 2010 to ask for this information, with the witness replying that it had been a very stressful time for him and his family, and had been busy with work also. Mr Sheridan asked the nature of the operation, with the witness describing a small camera being inserted to examine the hip. Mr Sheridan asked whether the camera was inserted in the hip area, with the witness responding “I think it was the groin area”. The witness went on to state that the recuperation from this surgery was not totally successful and subsequently he had required hip resurfacing surgery, an alternative to hip replacement.