“You must be the unluckiest person in the world because what we have heard is that everyone you have met in the last 20, 30 years is either lying or conspiring against you.” Allison Kane during the Sheridan perjury trial.
Well that’s it.
At enormous cost to the public purse, Tommy is found guilty. Many people seem surprised and think that the Tomster did a reasonable job of defending himself. Indeed I hear that management at News International were fearful that Tommy was almost by-passing the evidence and ‘hot wiring’ to the jury. In his original defamation case against the News of the World, much legal opinion was that this was how he had achieved his, albeit now pyrrhic, victory.
In discussing the case with my legal correspondents here at BLFP, the general opinion was that defending one’s self in a criminal trial was quite a different proposition from representing one’s self in a civil defamation case. It was they say, an almost impossible task.
The story goes that Tommy’s original QC Maggie Scott strongly advised him not to call former NoTW editor and current press man to David Cameron, Andy Coulson as a witness. His insistence to do so was allegedly the reason that she and Tommy parted company.
Why would anyone call a hostile witness in their own defence?
All Coulson was ever going to do was remind the jury of the core evidence against Tommy in the case. All Tommy was ever going to do was to question how the evidence was obtained, not that it wasn’t true.
I’m sure there are elements of truth in Tommy’s conspiracy theories. The News of the World allegations maybe did come along at an opportune time for those within the SSP whom Tommy saw as being against him.
However the idea that everyone from the State the NoTW, members of his own party, childhood friends and even his best man would act in together in some conspiracy to ruin him was simply unbelievable. And even if all that were true, what then about the witnesses with no apparent connection to any party in the case?
There are some very questionable elements in the way the case against the Sheridans was conducted. The dramatic raid on their home days before Christmas which apparently uncovered not a shred of evidence and the disgraceful lines of police questioning of Gail Sheridan are two such cases in point.
It is of course highly unusual for perjury proceedings to arise from a civil trial. Everybody lies to their own ends and may the best man win is the usual order of things.
So yes, there are germs of truth in the ‘Infamy! they’ve all got it infamy!’ stuff
However the idea that it was because he was a socialist that set a tabloid against him in the first place doesn’t really bear scrutiny.
If one were to think quickly of names from British political history brought down by press stories and allegations *snaps fingers* come on! who would you think of? er… Profumo, Thorpe, Archer and Aitken would be my top four.
Don’t see any socialists there I don’t think. I do however see two people who like Tommy, foolishly embarked on defamation cases and ended up in jail. They ended up in jail because what had been published about them was substantially true.
Even in Tommy’s summing up his angle was ‘reasonable doubt’ and ‘Gonnae no send me to the jail’ It was not in any way a robust rebuttal of the evidence against him.
The whole thing has been an unsavoury business and none of the News of the World, the police nor Tommy emerge with any credit.
Of course to expect the NoTW to be anything other than a collection of scurrilous bastards would be counter intuitive in the extreme. To expect the police to treat political activists who make no secret of their desire to destroy the state, with courtesy and respect is perhaps an expectation too far. Not saying that’s right just saying how it is.
However when someone puts himself on a pedestal and defines himself by living his life to certain principles and ideals then he’s setting himself up for a fall if he goes against those very principles and ideals.
I agree with my friend Fern Cake when he points out that in a better world we’d have Blair facing a court in the Hague. I accept that absolutely.
In the case of Tommy though, he set himself up as a kind of Scottish Che Guevara and has ended up appearing like a cross between Jeffrey Archer and David Koresh.
Hubris? You bet.
As another correspondent put it succinctly:
“If Sheridan or people like him got power, and created a workers paradise, Tommy would have his dacha in Arran or wherever, and his big motor wheeling him off to his various liaisons there, while the rest of us pressed our noses against the windows of the beriozka shops.”
Tommy was apparently offered a deal of a maximum 18 month sentence and charges to be dropped against Gail if he pled guilty. He may have somewhat longer than 18 months to reflect on the wisdom of turning that opportunity down.
Apparently the appearance of the fat lady singing is some way off. The next step is an appeal by the NoTW against the verdict in the defamation case based on the result of the perjury trial.
Good piece in The Herald this morning.
Filed under: The Law | Tagged: hma v sheridan, news of the world, tommy sheridan | 8 Comments »