3 October 2010

Tomorrow, Sherry is prisoner at the bar...

Just a couple of Sunday afternoon short thoughts and notices. Firstly, I've composed this week's Scottish Roundup, which I've given the Keatsian title of "Season of tiffs and mellow fruitiness..." Plenty there to keep you entertained, I fancy, from analyses of Ed Miliband's big speech, devolution and its policy contortions, women's participation in Scottish politics, the writings of Thomas Carlyle and the legality of waving the ubiquitous flags of Scottishness. Excellent stuff. It is also the night before Her Majesty's Advocate v. Sheridan and Sheridan is due to begin in the High Court in Glasgow before Lord Bracadale. If you missed it and are still wondering what the Sheridan perjury trial is all about, you might like to take a look at the full indictment, which I reproduced here earlier in the week. For myself, the most mysterious and pregnant charge on the indictment is the first listed against him, that he attempted to suborn perjury from Colin Fox before the latter testified in his defamation trial. The Crown allege that this meeting took place on the 18th of June 2006, its setting the Beanscene coffee house, just outside of Holyrood. Here's that complete charge, extracted from the rest:

(1) you THOMAS SHERIDAN having raised an action of defamation in the Court of Session, Parliament House, Parliament Square, Edinburgh against News Group Newpapers Limited, 124 Portman Street, Kinning Park, Glasgow, a company incorporated under the Companies Acts, being the publisher of the News of the World newspaper, in which you alleged that on 21 November 2004 the said newspaper had published an article communicating the false idea that you had visited a "swingers club" with Anvar Begum Khan, c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, and knowing that a civil jury trial had been fixed for the hearing of said action on 4 July 2006 and having on 9 November 2004 at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Socialist Party held at 70 Stanley Street, Glasgow, attended by, among others, Colin Fox, c/o Lothian and Borders Police, Police Headquarters, Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh, admitted attending such a club and in particular Cupid's Healthclub, 13-17 Sutherland Street, Swinton, Manchester on two occasions in 1996 and 2002 and knowing that accurate minutes of the said meeting existed and had been lodged on 16 June 2006 at the said Court on behalf of the said defender and that said Colin Fox was to be called as a witness at said trial did on 18 June 2006 at the premises known as The Beanscene, 67 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh attempt to suborn said Colin Fox, to falsely depone as a witness that the minutes of said meeting were not accurate and you did thus attempt to suborn said Colin Fox to commit perjury;

For those of us who dabble in Twitter, the critical question to settle and settle soon is what handy hashtag ought to denote Sheridan's judicial ordeal?  More obvious suggestions include #sheridan, #sheridantrial, #sherrytrial. This morning, Love and Garbage and I have shared a few other more or less inspired suggestions, including...

#asocialistsguidetothedankeroticnightspotsoftheunitedkingdomallegedly #swingingonashoestringallegedly
#solidartomsc #socialistsoftheworlduniteexceptfortheonesthataretestifyingagainstmeobviouslytheyrenottounite

All other (lawful) suggestions welcome. No doubt the organic god of popular usage will determine this particular conundrum of new media modernity for us and the angst of contingency shall settle down into a prescriptive stability.  Finally, might I suggest that anyone minded to publish their thoughts on the Sheridan perjury trial reads this quite carefully. The Contempt of Court Act 1981 does not mandate an blanket omerta and require popular silence, but it certainly counsels a wee bit of caution as we put fingertips to our keyboards.


  1. I'm planning on blogging it from the court


    Contributions welcome


  2. Thanks for letting me know, Anonymous.

    I look forward to reading your "fair and accurate report of legal proceedings held in public, published contemporaneously and in good faith", with interest.

  3. You may find that not only my name but also my wee photo is on the link I gave you.

  4. A wee typo there LPW - not June 2009 but as your extract says June 2006.

  5. Cunningly noticed, bigrab! Ever considered turning lawyer? A slip of the digit on my part. I've amended the date accurately to reflect the indictment.

  6. It's SSP witnesses from the very start today. One of the first up is Barbara Scott, the SSP/UL member who said in court that she hadnt seen her notes for two years and had left them with a party official, but then turned up with them days after Sheridan's victory.

    The SSP and their meetings will be the focus of this whole thing again, as it was before. The NotW's evidence re their stories fell pathetically under scrutiny in the defamation trial, it was the minutes and SSP meetings that became the battleground. Same again this time from what I know so far.

    On that subject, this time we will get to see who wrote a signed affidavit to the Herald in that days following Sheridan's resignation. It wasnt until two years later, when McCombes was in jail, that this news emerged. It represented a written version of events at that meeting and, if McCombes had known it was out there, could have saved himself 50k in court costs and fines, and a week in the jail!

  7. First update


  8. P.S. The obvious question which I've yet to ask, oh well informed Jim, is whether you are surnamed Monaghan and hence the same soul I was blogging about here just a few moments ago?

  9. Yes, I thought my email address came with my post and didnt intend it to come up as 'jim', thjought that my posts came up as 'jim monaghan' I have sent you an email.

    there is no need to speculate on my involvement, role etc, you can email me and ask :-)

  10. Jim,

    Many thanks for your assistance. Being obtuse and reasonably sure that Jim is a fairly well-distributed Scottish name, I didn't immediately make the connection.

  11. James,

    You may have noticed, for ease of reference to your interesting account of proceedings, I've added your blog to my RSS feed, left. As someone furth of Scotland, unable to attend, I'm looking forward to your detailed reports from inside the court.

  12. Hi LPW - I have called it Swingergate


  13. Egad, no, not another -gate, Edwin! Your post reminded me of that eccentric detail which is always part of the visual fun of such trials, since we're denied access to the wiggy courtroom itself - the march of the witnesses. Passing the flash and glare of cameras as they stomp to court, with grave, jolly, confident, expressive or carefully porcelain expressions. A swagger or a stride, leisurely or at-pace. Since all the reports only mention names, unless the figure is familiar, they can get jumbled up. The march of the witnesses always helps to clear that up. And, of course, of slight curiosity what these figures on the stand - and under the scrutiny of a jury - decide to wear...

  14. Hi LPW - I just love a bad pun! I'm not a Sherrystalker and the trial tied in neatly with my Paddy's Market post. Heresy Corner has just put up a mainly textual guest version which is an honour.


    The trouble with pics is that they fix the momentary expression as the 'true' one which -as I say in a caption - is not necessarily true. They look like a condemned couple in the photo i took but both were smiling merrily just moments later!