"So me, could I tell the court where I was on the evening of the 14th of July 2006?"
"Certainly, I'm glad we asked that. As it happens, I was at home reading Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit with a pint of ovaltine with a gaviscon chaser..."
"I put it to you that your evidence is consistent, credible, reliable and convincing."
"I agree with you ... -er ... me. Us..."
It can't be an easy thing to elicit evidence-in-chief from oneself as counsel in your own defence and accused sitting in the witness box. In a "stunning move" which I suspect discombobulated absolutely nobody, Tommy Sheridan has given Maggie Scott QC her jotters a mere week into Her Majesty's Advocate v. Sheridan & Sheridan. As you will all have read by now, Sheridan isn't following the third QC lucky rule. No doubt impressed by his expertise in Sheridan-related litigation, he has decided to instruct himself and intends to conduct his own defence, assisted by his solicitor Aamer Anwar. Some folk have been asking what implications, if any, this might have for Gail Sheridan's defence. Its quite simple really. She was and will continue to be represented separately by Paul McBride QC - until such time as she is minded to give him the heave ho. Indeed, if you re-read the indictment carefully, you will notice that the couple are actually accused of rather different things. And perhaps most fundamentally, you're not allowed to be represented by your hubby in court.
Under the ban of contempt of court legislation, its actually profoundly difficult to blog interestingly about an ongoing trial, held at a distance. Happily, for those of us furth of Glasgow with an interest in the case, we have an invaluable resource in James Doleman's Sheridan Trial blog, offering a more or less contemporaneous account of the process as it unfolds, day by day. If you haven't visited the site before, I commend it to you. Kenneth Roy of the Scottish Review also has an interesting article entitled the Two Trials of Tommy, which draws on his own experience as a court reporter and picks up discrepancies and apparent embellishments in press reports from the trial.
Finally, Sheridan's decision to defend himself raises a tantalising possibility which some sections of the press may not have fully considered. If the rumours prove well-founded and the defence do indeed call former News of the World editor Andy Coulson to give evidence, David Cameron's Downing Street communications man won't be questioned by a caustic QC but the Satsuma Socialist himself, with all the Perry Mason he can muster.