Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tommy Sheridan needs a trial lawyer another disastrous day at Court, he reminds the jury that he has been in prison, the wrong tack

Dear All

It was always going to be very nasty and a highlight when Alan McCombes and Tommy Sheridan cross swords at Glasgow High Court.

And it could prove yet again that Sheridan is completely out of his depth arguing his case.

Alan McCombes was always going to be a hostile witness and he doesn’t disappoint on that score.
After Advocate Depute Alex Prentice questioning of Alan McCombes Tommy Sheridan left the dock and ‘had a go’ from the court lectern.

Sheridan began McCombes if he had discussed his evidence with any other Crown witnesses.

The reply by McCombes was he had not.

This allowed Sheridan to make the pitch that Rosie Kane had testified to the effect that McCombes had called to inform her that he was the source of the Sunday Herald affidavit.

In layman terms, this is called ‘a grass’ in Pollok and pretty much everywhere else.

A defiant McCombes responded by stating:

"this isn't Newsnight and you're not Jeremy Paxman."

Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge then intervened to remind the witness he was there to answer questions and not to make comments.

A feature of the trial is anti Sheridan witnesses skiing legal off-piste to get in the comments that Sheridan is a liar.

Some questioning rapidly followed about an affidavit which Alan McCombes had kept secret prompting Sheridan to asked if this showed the witness could be "duplicitous when he wanted to be."

McCombes shot that line down in flames by saying he had been "confidential about it".

So, null points on the scoreboard again for Sheridan.

After a long statement by McCombes that that he had done:

"whatever he had to do to protect the party, the members didn't have to know."

He rattled off that he thought Mr Sheridan was a "pathological liar" who was "reinventing a whole fantastical sequence of events".

Then in a bizarre incident Sheridan then produced a 11 Nov 2004 edition of the Scottish Daily Record.

In an article titled "The Rise and Fall of Comrade Tommy", he pointed out the number of times he had been to prison for his political activities and this was not "very Daniel O'Donnell".

One thing a defence lawyer doesn’t do is remind a jury that their client has been in the clink; rather Sheridan should be highlighting his record as an MSP.

Not a prison record; makes the jury think if he has been in before he probably won’t have any problems coping again with a lengthy stretch.

Tommy Sheridan needs a trial lawyer.

After Sheridan, a former football chipped this gem into the penalty box, McCombes simply nodded it to the net by saying the article was a "good way to show your track record to the jury".
Sheridan needs the ‘Dummies guide to cross examination’ perhaps he should lean across and ask Alex Prentice QC for some tips. The next piece of fluff from Tommy Sheridan was regarding a text message he received in error from Mr McCombes. He indicated and suggested to the witness that it showed there were political tensions between the two before the 9th November executive meeting.

It then got more lively as McCombes said he had reacted to the "utter contempt and venom" Mr Sheridan had showed to other party members, and added "if this is all the evidence you have of a plot it's pretty threadbare."

One of the themes that Sheridan is using is that there is an organised plot against him, given the stuff already in the public domain and the number of bodies involved some of whom are relatively unconnected; I think the jury will be dismissing the plot theory out of hand.

Sheridan like a man legally drowning then put it to the witness that he "didn't spend time at demonstrations" and instead worked in the "background organising smears and plots” attendance at demos is irrelevant to the case.

Can you imagine the jury saying he didn’t go to demos enough so Sheridan must be innocent?

The best line in the Trial then came from McCombes:

"JK Rowling couldn't make up stories like you it's like a combination of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings."Given the disaster of Sheridan playing lawyer, he can never be “Lord of the Rings” because his ‘ring’ must be near to collapse, every day the ‘Road to Barlinnie’ is travelled a little further by Sheridan.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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