Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Anthony Cumberbirch

The second witness of the day was Anthony Cumberbirch. He also told the court that he was a member, and occasional employee, at the Cupids club which he described as a "swingers club" and a place for "wife swapping" and  "liberated adults." Mr Prentice asked the witness of he recalled a group visiting the club from Scotland which he did stating he believed the visit was in 2002 describing the group as "just drunken Scottish customers." When asked if he could describe the group he said "ish" and added "I know now one was Tommy Sheridan. The Advocate depute then asked when he had realised that one of the alleged visitors that night was Tommy Sheridan, Mr Cumberbirch said he had watched an episode of Big Brother and had seen Mr Sheridan on the show and recognised him.

Mr Cumberbirch  then went on to tell the court that the group had joined his wife and himself at a party in a house owned by "Ian." He said that he and his wife had went to bed as the group were not "their sort of people." and later left the house and returned home. Mr Prentice asked the witness if he had ever been offered money for his story. The witness said he had not directly been offered money but had "heard from people through third parties" that he could make some from the story. With that Mr Prentice ended his evidence in chief and returned to his seat in the well of the court.

Mr Sheridan then left the dock and began his cross-examination. He began by asking who he had watched Big Brother with to which the witness replied "Louise, we saw you on it, no doubt." Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that his wife had said she could not identify him in court earlier. Mr Cumberbirch responded that he didn't know what his wife remembered but "I remember you."

Mr Sheridan then named a number of people who would testify that they had never seen him in the club, including the club owners, Grace and Derek Norris. Mr Cumberbirch  said he remembered that night as he had been asked by "Robbie" to "cross a name out of the entry book, someone had signed in with their real name." When asked why there was a sign in book he replied "you could sign in as Mork and Mindy for all we care" but they needed to know how many people were in the club for "fire regulations."

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if he would be "willing to take money from a paper to tell lies" to which Mr Cumberbirch said "are you offering" The presiding judge Lord Bracadale then directed the witness to answer the question, and Mr Cumberbirch replied he would not take money. Mr Sheridan then asked how the witness had been aware that money was on offer, he responded that "various people" had told him he could have gotten on the "front page" but was not interested. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness what his occupation was now, to which Mr Cumberbirch  replied "that has nothing to do with this case" Lord Bracadale then directed the witness to answer the question. Mr Cumberbirch told the court he had run a club of his own but was now unemployed. The court then briefly adjourned while Mr Sheridan discussed a matter with his legal team.

When court resumed Mr Sheridan asked the witness if he was a "honest man" Which he said he was. Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that "he had lied in court before" to which Mr Cumberbirch  replied "Have I? Don't think so" Mr Sheridan said he did not want to read out all of the witnesses convictions but put it to him that been found guilty of "trespass with a firearm" to which Mr Cumberbirch responded that was 40 years ago. Mr Sheridan agreed that people did "foolish things in their youth" but added that the witness also had convictions for actual bodily harm, 
burglary and theft, conspiracy to steal a vehicle (for which he served 3 years in jail) and handling stolen goods. The witness said that in the final case he had "admitted doing something I hadn't done," to which Mr Sheridan responded that the witness had just confessed to lying in court. Mr Cumberbirch  responded "Yes, I lied in court" Mr Sheridan then asked the witness you were not a young lad at that time?" Mr Cumberbirch responded "get to the point." Mr Sheridan added that the witness had also been convicted of possession of amphetamines.

Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that he had a "financial motive" and had been offered money for his story, Mr Cumberbirch denied this. Mr Sheridan finished by suggesting to the witness he was a "proven liar" Mr Cumberbirch said he was "telling the truth now, end of." Mr Sheridan then ended his cross-examination and returned to the dock. Mr Prentice declined to re-examine and Mr Cumberbirch stepped down from the witness stand and left the court.


american express said...

...but had "heard from people through third parties" that he could make some from the story.

When will we get some witnesses who don't have a political motive or a financial motive to lie?

Perry Freemason said...

I have a lot of sympathy for Alex Prentice after today, this witness was a nightmare. They must have known of his convictions and it is certain that the defence would bring that up, but there is no way that Prentice would have known that Cumberbirch was going to voluntarily admit to a previous perjury.

I had expected that Prentice would be keen to move away from SSP witnesses and on to material witnesses from the actual events Sheridan is accused of taking part in.

He must be left wondering what is coming next from his list of witnesses.

Anonymous said...

political motive or a financial motive to lie? - Elizabeth Quinn? - what was her motive?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Perry Mason. These prosecution witnesses are a disaster, their testimony tainted by the possibility raised by TS's questioning that they could have financial or political motives for testifying against him.

It appears to me that rather than TS, it's the prosecution witnesses who thus far have been put on trial.

Whatsy said...

Re: American Express
"When will we get some witnesses who don't have a political motive or a financial motive to lie?"

Probably never, if you take at face value TS's insinuation that every witness is either part of the cabal, in the pocket of the NotW or conspiring to back up their pals who are part of the previous two groups.

Take Mr Cumberbirch's comment about hearing he could make some money out of it from a third party. That's all we know so far. The third party could be Max Clifford, or it could be a mate in the pub.

You couldn't have been involved in the activities Sheridan allegedly participated in and not be aware that you could make some money from a tabloid out of it. However, if you hadn't been involved in any of it because it didn't happen, it would take an incredible nerve to lie in court in the hope of making a few grand. Would it be worth it?

Anonymous said...

Or Gary Clark?

Anonymous said...

Just saw the Cumberbirchs on tv there.

Jings, crivens and help ma boab.

In the words of the late Alex Glasgow 'I'd rather have a cup of tea.'

Anonymous said...

the cumberbirchs are typical of the clientèle that you find in swingers clubs..... or so I have been told.