Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tommy Sheridan perjury trial to start soon, it has all the hallmarks of a political trial and witch hunt, will a jury of his peers convict?

Dear All

October sees the start of the Tommy Sheridan perjury case; you might call it a political show trial.

The show goes on and leaving aside the merits of the case, it has all the feel of witch hunt against Sheridan.

I have met Sheridan on a few occasions, he seems amiable but his political career has died; his big brother appearance which he did for the cash was the last nail in his political coffin.

He still has a brand name but not an effective political base to operate it from.

His fight against the News of the World enters round two.

A new twist is that the beleaguered Prime Minister’s chief spin doctor has spoken to lawyers for Tommy Sheridan.

Andy Coulson, the Downing Street director of communications, the walking dead without the sense to lie down has given a precognition following a request by Sheridan’s legal team.

We could see him taking the stand as a witness in the Sheridan trial.

Sheridan and his wife Gail were both charged with perjury in connection with evidence they gave in a previous defamation case which he won and was awarded £200,000 in damages.

So far he has been paid and this trial in Court will give the News of the World endless profits.

In 2004, the News of the World which specialises in big sensational stories claimed the former Scottish Socialist Party leader had cheated on his spouse.

It was alleged he was banging a former prostitute.

At the end of the trial the police launched a probe and a lengthy investigation followed which saw Sheridan charged with perjury and trying to persuade someone else to commit perjury.

There was a high profile staged managed raid on his house in Cardonald in Glasgow in which nine police officers detained his wife and searched the family home.

This case has raised a few eyebrows Prominent Scottish journalist Iain McWhirter makes the point:

“The histrionic arrest and subsequent charging of the former Scottish Socialist MSP, Tommy Sheridan, as he left his radio talk show, is quite extraordinary. Perjury investigations are very rare even in criminal cases in Scotland, and it is unheard of for such an investigation to follow a defamation action”.

So, Tommy Sheridan will go before a jury of peers and if I was his lawyers, part of my argument would be crafted at the unusual treatment that Sheridan has received.

Scottish rail against people being treated unfairly by the state because they know the state is corrupt.

It seems regardless of the merits of the case, the state has made Sheridan a special case.

On that basis, I think a jury learning how everything was done to secure a conviction using these methods will possibly find him not guilty.

I think not proven has a realistic chance of success, in a court who tells the best story wins.

This is a political trial to satisfy the News of the World.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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