Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jurors in the Tommy Sheridan hit trial ‘watch the birdy’ as NotW editor Bob Bird takes the stand, he gets rough ride as Sheridan has good day

Dear All

Friday morning in court number four saw Tommy Sheridan return after his recent illness to continue his fight against charges that he lied in a previous case.

On the witness stand to be cross-examined was Bob Bird, Scottish editor of the News of the World (NotW).

Sheridan stared off by asking Mr Bird if his newspaper "always told the truth".

Maybe he is confusing the NotW with the Daily Planet in the Superman comics and movies.

Bob Bird replied that it "did its best.

Well we are only human afterall aren’t we!

And then Sheridan asked if Bob Mr Bird had ever met Rupert Murdoch (the chairman of News International).

Rupert Murdoch controls a vast media empire and Although Scotland maybe a blip on his radar; I can’t Tommy Sheridan from a very minor provincial party grabbing his interest personally.

Bird replied they had met "half a dozen times".

The Sheridan proved why he isn’t any good as a Trial Lawyer by asking what Mr Bird's salary is.

This isn’t relevant but the witness said "six figures”.

Then Prentice for the crown objected to the question as irrelevant, an objection that Lord Bracadale upheld.

And the rest of Scotland if they had the chance!

Bird also confirmed that his "boss" until 2007 had been Andrew Coulson.

I think we will be seeing Andrew Coulson in the Glasgow Court room at some point, current he is David Cameron’s Chief of Communications.

Sheridan then put it to Bird that News International was a "multi-billion corporation" that would have lots of "media and editing equipment" to which Bird agreed.

Does Sheridan have any evidence that the NotW re edited the George McNeilage tape?

No, so although he is flying this kite, it is simply hot air unless he can get collaboration in the form of independent documents or a witness. Sheridan went off at a tangent by producing the Newspaper editors code of practice and asked Mr Bird if he complied with them.

To which Bird replied that the Notw "do our best to."
Sheridan then homed in on the section on "clandestine devices and subterfuge".

He put it to Bird if the NotW followed that section of the code and again Mr Bird said we "do our best to."

Given that the NotW wasn’t involved in George McNeilage taping until post event, they weren’t involved in using "clandestine devices and subterfuge”, how Sheridan thinks this route is worth while is beyond me.

Is it entertainment?

The Data Protection Act 1998 allows individuals the right to collect evidence if they have ‘reasonable belief’ that a crime has been committed.

Arguably McNeilage’s tape falls in section of the 1998 Act. On the subject of witnesses who had been paid, Sheridan scored better success, this is firm ground, the type of ground Sheridan needs to be standing on to create doubt.

Sheridan was able to rattle off a list of witnesses who had been paid by the NotW including Katrine Trolle and Anvar Khan.

A point was also scored by Sheridan that Bird never mentioned this in any of his nine police statements.

Is it possible that so many people had been paid and it slipped his mind?

Another well made point by Sheridan was going with examples of cases where, he claimed, the NotW had published false stories that had "ruined people's lives".

Advocate Depute Alex Prentice objected to this line of questioning stating that these were "collateral matters" that had no bearing on the case.

Prentice was trying it on and Lord Bracadale overruled this objection.

The Moorov doctrine used by the Crown in previous cases is open to Sheridan to use as part of his defence into how the NotW operates against people who have no link to each other.

So, Sheridan in the round had a good day in my opinion.

But he still needs to reflect on his judgement; he appears to get carried away and thinks too emotionally hence silly questions which make him look desperate.

Asking people how much they earn for doing their job was petty, small minded nonsense.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Carnybull said...

Tommy's repeated the accusation he made during the libel trial to the effect that the NoW endangered the life of his wife's unborn child.
Quite apart from the possible emotional effect on Catholic jurors, does Mr Sheridan propose to adduce a jot of expert evidence to this effect? If he has no expert evidence, then the Judge should have stopped this line of questionning if it was not based on medical opinion and was thereby soley calculated to inflame the emotions of the jury.

Anonymous said...

I have some wonderful wisdom..