Friday, February 4, 2011

The Last Post

Photo Duncan Brown
As it is now coming up to ten days since the end of the trial of Her Majesties Advocate vs Thomas Sheridan we have decided to bring the Sheridan Trial blog to an end. We will leave it online as an archive but, unless something dramatic happens, we will not be producing any further updates. We will leave comments open over the weekend to allow people to make their final contributions and then shut that down on Monday.

As people will doubtless be aware the first accused, Tommy Sheridan was found guilty of five charges of perjury and sentenced to three years imprisonment. While this is not the result they wanted Mr Sheridan's legal team would argue that the fact that fourteen of the original nineteen charges were either dropped or not found proven by the jury, shows that they conducted an effective defence. Mr Sheridan's lawyer Aamer Aanwar has already announced that he will be lodging an appeal. A defence campaign has been launched for Mr Sheridan, they have a website Here Mr Sheridan also has a blog which has an account of his first week in prison

The second accused Gail Sheridan was acquitted on all charges. Despite speculation to the contrary Mrs Sheridan has announced that she will not be seeking a nomination as a candidate in the Scottish elections. There have reports that she may stand for Glasgow city council in the Craigton ward.

A number of witnesses in the case will however be standing in the Scottish elections this May.  Frances Curran, Colin Fox and Kevin McVey have already been announced as candidates for the Scottish Socialist Party.  It is also expected that a number of defence witnesses will be nominated by Solidarity Scotland, however no formal announcement has yet been made on this.

Andrew Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World, has resigned his post as Director of Communications at 10 Downing Street. Some reports have cited his appearance as a witness at the Sheridan Trial as a factor in his decision to quit.  The story around "phone hacking" by people associated with the News of the World has continued to develop since the case ended. The Metropolitan Police have announced that they have begun a new investigation into the allegations.

On a personal note I'd like to thank everyone who helped make this blog possible. The people at court who made sure I got in to observe proceedings every day and the staff at Glasgow High court for their assistance and the two legal teams.  I'd also like to mention some of the journalists who helped me out and gave me advice on how to stay within the law while reporting, in no particular order I'd like to thank Severin Carrel Alison Campsie, Bernard Ponsonby, Raymond Buchanan, Yana Thandrayen, Catriona Renton, Audrey Gillan, Alan Taylor and  Mark Daly and many others. Also I'd like to recommended the web sites of my unofficial legal advisors, Love and Garbage and Lallands Peat Worrier 

I'd also like to congratulate  "Whatsy" for their work, without that the site would not have managed to cover as much as it did. 

Finally, after some thought I've decided not to accept donations for the site. I started this blog partly to see if it was possible to "blog a trial"and partly because  it might be useful for the Scottish Left to  have as an objective as possible account of events and testimony at the trial. Therefore it seems wrong to solicit money for this endevour. Some commentators have asked if we could nominate a charity, I'd suggest people could do worse than donate to Govan Law Centre 

Thanks again to everyone


Update Monday 7 February

Comments are now closed. We can still be reached by email at


Ian Thomson said...

James Epic production and very informative. Thanks for the blog I know a lot of people all over the country will miss it. Well done to you and your small team take a break and get your life back. I am certain we hav not heard the last of James Doleman and look forward to your next epic adventure. Once again thank you..


Catriona MacPhee said...

Well done and thanks James, in particular for your diplomatic approach in taming what must have been a pretty wild comments section. A stellar effort and one that has raised a lot of pertinent questions about the role of bloggers and the future of court reporting. Good luck with whatever's next.

Anonymous said...


I completely agree with Ian's comments. I've been following your blog from abroad and will certainly miss it. However, you have undoubtedly opened a new avenue of blogging and I'm sure that your proven talents will be remployed at some stage in the future. Many thanks for your unstinting work from Barcelona, Catalonia. Looking forward to the Next Post.

Anonymous said...

I should think we've heard the last of James Doleman. Back to deserved obscurity, Frank, you disgraceful little Sheridanista lickspittle.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you James.

yulefae said...

Well done James for the way you reported the trial,not the way the papers did,i remember you saying one reporter said they only had two minutes to report so they couldn,t get it all in,i disagree with that as all the reports i read were of the one sided nature bar a few.Maybe now now they will take a leaf out your book and not report as if the accused is guilty until proven otherwise.



Paul L said...

Great work, thank you so much.
Please do another blog on something else and link to it here. It was interesting and informative.

Avid Reader said...

Well, what can I say except many thanks for a fascinating few months, and well done. This is a sad day for all of us blog followers, but I'm sure you must be looking forward to a more normal life.

Govan Law Centre is a great idea.

I shall google you from time to time to find out what you get up to next.

All the best whatever it is.

Norma Anderson said...

Can I join with others in thanking you for the excellent work you have put into this blog. Your impartiality has been exemplary and the coverage of the trial first class. I am only sorry that you had to face such a barrage of abuse from some mindless morons who only had to click the wee cross at the top of the page if they didn't want to read what you had written. I will send off a donation to Govan Law Centre as a mark of my appreciation and I wish you all the best in whatever you chose to do in the future!

Legal Seagull said...

Thanks very much for all your had work

Anonymous said...

James your blog and the comments /debates have made the Internet a far more interesting place.Best wishes to you and good luck for the future.
John Kevin

Jo G said...

James, we have not heard the last of you. Very well done indeed. You played a blinder (despite severe provocation at times).

I hope this blog is the beginning of something much bigger for you. You deserve it.

All the very best to you and yours.

jim mclean said...

Anonymous said...

I should think we've heard the last of James Doleman. Back to deserved obscurity, Frank, you disgraceful little Sheridanista lickspittle.

At least we have heard of James Doleman and not many people have made history. James's 15 minutes of fame is in its third month and will last a lot longer.
Clearly James is SWP but he has published most of my posts, his stellar efforts counteracting my Stella ones. Having been banned from posting on another site by a Labour Party member for posting anti TS stuff James has done well in allowing and objective and wide ranging debate.

Lickspittle??????????? I heard that on Blackadder once.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations James, it's been a success and you are on the map now, you've proven that there is an appetite for sensible, accurate, non-partisan reporting, it's ironic how some of the less sensational witnesses that the mainstream media ignored probably won this case for the crown.

Too late to get you doing a Jim Divine blog? Ach well.

All the very best mate, you know in a wider sense, when all the dust has settled, I think what's happened to TS is probably the best thing ever for the Scottish left. Folk might not realise it just now, but in time I think they will.


Steve said...

Good on you.

Hopefully the best is yet to come, as they say.


Willie Miller said...

Sad to see this blog coming to an end. I've followed it from day one and it has been fantastic.. Thanks to all who made it possible. Good luck for the future.

the_voice_of_reason said...

All the best. Your work here has genuinely broken new ground. I will be in touch once I have a date for publication of my article about this blog, which is going into the "Scots Law Times".

Kevin Mauchan said...

Thanks for all the hard work you've put into the blog. I think it has been as impartial as it could have been under the circumstances and with provocation from both sides. I don't think many people have come out of the whole affair with much credit, but on the whole I think you have James. I look forward to your next endeavour. Here's to fighting the tories/cuts and moving on from this.

Bunc said...

I suppose all good things must come to an end. Wonderful work all rond James.

Your blog has given a fascinating and detailed insight into the workings of a major Scottish Trial and the downfall of an icon of the Scottish Left. As such it will become a valuable historical document.

Great work as well on balancing the comments from all quarters.

The issue of the day now is of course the struggle for democracy in Egypt - something that far eclipses the trials and tribulations of a perjured scottish politician.

Avid Reader said...

Just before we all part company, I'd like to thank the commenters for their invaluable contribution to this blog. And congratulate James for managing to keep the discussions courteous and balanced.

There have been many interesting and informative posts, as well as some amusing ones.

For me the funniest was this, way back in December:

"The police waited until after Tommy finished a shift at the radio station before arresting him.
Totally insensitive, arrogant and oppressive attitude from a public authority. Tommy was on the radio for hours.
Had they no concern for the listening public? "

comment by Radio Gaga
December 7, 2010 2:25 PM

Thanks for a good laugh during a depressing time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Say It Ain't So Joe said...

Well done James,
I suspect that we are at polar opposites on many issues of politics and conscience but your work on this blog is incredibly impressive (albeit with some quality input from your refreshingly off-message collaborator Whatsy) and our lives have been enriched by your efforts.

Good luck in your next enterprise.

Nat King Cole said...

The party's over
It's time to call it a day
They've burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away

It's time to wind up
The masquerade
Just make your mind up
The piper must be paid

The party's over
The candles flicker and dim
You danced and dreamed through the night
It seemed to be right just being with him

Now you must wake up, all dreams must end
Take off your makeup, the party's over
It's all over, my friend

The party's over
It's time to call it a day

Now you must wake up, all dreams must end
Take off your makeup, the party's over
It's all over, my friend
It's all over, my friend

Awra best, James

Peter said...

What a waste of web space and DIY time that all was Doleman......


Sorry James ... I let Mrs Peter onto the blog - she should stick to eating chocolate, frowning and reading Julie Bindel articles.

By the way Mrs Peter has asked me to ask you to quote a reasonable price for covering our divorce hearing later this year.

As she intends to cite you and Whatsy as co-respondents you could kill two birds with one stone.

She is thinking it will be like Heather Mills and Macca.

I have reminded her, however, that common law marriage is a legal myth for now at least

She is getting nothing.

Really women and the law - it's like explaning the offside rule to them .... but please don't take that as backhanded Sheridan jury mumering.

(What do you mean "you can't say that sort of thing these days" - if she insists on paying for Sky TV rather than "chipping it" that is what she can expect.)

Funny enough me and Mrs Peter had the pleasure of dinner with Julie B many years ago - Jools is a fellow thinker, collaborator (and I think still a friend) of Mrs Peters mum.

I like to find common ground with most people as you know.

After a shaky start (not helped I made some ill advised comments regarding Ms Barbara Streisand to a table full of rad fems) I found some common ground with Julie in a mutual love of the Godfather I & II.

Who wudda thunk it?

This was so long ago that we luckily did not have to discuss the quality of III.

The reason I bring this up is that Julie was the sworn political enemy of many of the women in the SSP from the Militant Tendency tradition including co-leader Frances Curran.

Rather bitter scenes as the comrades will recall but I won't go into the whys and the wheres of that emnity here.

It is, however, one of the many ironies revealed in this process that Julie now extolls some of those comrades (the NOTW witnesses that is) as heroes of feminism.

The political journey of those militants who have charted their route to womens liberation via the jailing of socialist Tommy Sheridan is one matter that I will be taking up in my new blog.

It should be ready by International Womens Day and will probably be called
"Liverpool Jury".

It will include some serious stuff but also new material such as Anvar Khans / McBride battle as reinterpreted by Vicky, a wonderful young actress I met recently at court.

Yes a new blog James ... and for good or bad it is all down to you lad.

Did I ever tell you that your my hero James, or that your everything I would like to be? You are the wind beneath my wings.

By the way "Anon" you won my informal prize for best user name. Log onto my new blog in March and give me your full name and address on a postcard. Otherwise I will send the prizes along to the Govan Law Centre along with a percentage of my next poker winnings.

But for now anyway I will just say James that it has been quite a ride.

I am very grateful for your hard work. I am honoured to have been allowed to have been a little part of this excellent blogs comment life.

To be honest if you as the creator had not closed this odd little world down I don't think I could have ever left - perhaps I will also be grateful for that one day as well as my good lady.

Goodnight and good luck James and maybe see you on the other side of the wall some day.



Neutral Observer said...

Top notch, James. A very difficult job I would say, don't know how you kept up the energy to post so quickly during the trial.

Well done.

yulefae said...

See,the classless NOTW HAVE printed shit again,James you need to get a paper.
This story really puts them in the last chance saloon

Skippy said...

A lot of people all over the WORLD will miss it!

You've achieved something quite remarkable here.

Remarkable regardless of the subject matter, but I must say that if you really are "Sheridanista" then I didn't pick it.

So long and thanks from Australia.

Denizen said...

Proud to be a Sheridanista! Don't know about the lickspittle.

Still. You know how much I have enjoyed the blog (even if I did have a downer at one point when all the world's bitter and disappointed tried to see how much acid they could disgorge)

Thanks again, James. Hope to see your byline soon.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work James. Have you thought of coming to London to cover the Jim Devine trial? There's no lengths the "establishment" will go to stitch up a man for his political beliefs. As Jimbo's rather fat, red faced and unpopular however, I don't give him as long as three years as he's not seen as much of an electoral threat by MI5 as Tommy is.

More seriously, instead of closing, why not keep open, updating us on Tommy's appeal?



Anonymous said...

James, difficult job - well done

Anonymous said...

I'm sure my position on this is shared by many others. TS is right to highlight the overlap of interests between the Murdoch Press and the establishment and how low they are prepared to stoop in order to deliver exclusives to their readership. There is an old saying that you need a very long spoon to sup with the devil and clearly TS was invited to the feast by Anvar but his spoon has proved not to be long enough.
In any brave new Socialist Utopia there will need to be a rethinking of the old bourgeois morality and human relationships will be "free" and people will not be judged on their choices. Clearly TS had jumped the gun a little on this one and was forced to retreat behind the bulwark of his family. It was plain that the forces of the state proved too much for him in the end but it seems clear to me that TS could have survived if he had followed the advice of his erstwhile chum Gorgeous George and let the matter blow over.
His civil victory was the result of the jurors' dislike of News International and his proclamation that "working class" people can discern the truth suggests that either the good burghers of Glesga could not come up with a jury of the correct class provenance or they may have discerned the truth that TS was so focused on the beam in the eye of the NI camp that he was no longer aware of the mote in his own eye. True there may have been some inaccuracies and fabrication in the stories run by the NOTW and many of the charges simply evaporated. However to dispense with the services of a hired legal character assassin and to be seen to personally undermine the credibility of former friends and colleagues may have simply been too much for the jury.
I admired TS for many years and his apparent commitment to fairness and justice. Seems very sad that it has all ended so badly for TS and the left as a whole. Clearly TS marches to his own drum and was prepared to disrupt the traditional nuptial patterns by electing to have three best men. This public subversion of traditional roles clearly was an indicator that TS was hard at work undermining bourgeois morality at every opportunity. I'm sure his personal relationship could have withstood being outed on this front ( as if she hadn't already guessed) but I wonder if any political relationships will.

Well done James and goodnight!

Joe said...

Well done on reporting the specifics of this trial. However what do you plan to do about the 'big picture' issues of fair play and equality in the eyes of the law?

Anonymous said...

Can I be the last comment?

James Doleman said...

Consider it done Anonymous.