Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tommy Sheridan to appeal guilty verdict, Sheridan needs an expert in Human Rights law to properly argue he didn’t get full Article Six Rights

Dear All

I like to see a good legal fight in a court of law as it is highly entertaining in many respects, not just the rhetoric but the legal argument on points of law.

Tommy Sheridan is to lodge an appeal against his conviction for perjury.

I think this is to be expected and given his situation and I suspect the best possible route since the guilty verdict last week.

So, what grounds could Sheridan use to claim he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice?

It is said that he is to claim "key witnesses" were blocked from speaking at the trial and that e-mails were withheld from his defence lawyers.

That means the basis of his appeal is that he didn’t get his article six rights which give the right to a fair trial under Human Rights Law.

Is this a runner?

Well, it is definitely something he could try and why not, the alternative on January 26 is grim.

Sheridan has been found guilty of five counts of perjury; the sentence he is looking at is years in prison.

His appeal also allegedly will focus on the "withholding of crucial e-mails" sent between the Scottish News of the World and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

So, the question which comes to mind is, does Sheridan have any evidence that supports the appeal that any undisclosed email has evidence relevant to his case?

Or are he and his legal team just flying a kite?

Labour MP and former minister Tom Watson, a senior member of a Commons committee probing the NOTW hacking allegations has popped up and lodged a complaint with the UK's Information Commissioner.

He says he has done this over a "highly suspicious" claim at Sheridan's trial by Scottish NoW editor Bob Bird that e-mails sent about the newspaper's investigation into the former SSP leader had been lost.

Bob Bird claimed during the court hearing that "many e-mails had been lost when they were being moved to an archive in India".

This doesn’t look to me that this would fly in front of a Judge unless Sheridan can prove by third party independent evidence that something allegedly lost prejudiced his case.

Speculation isn’t a solid basis on which to claim under Article Six that the trial was unfair.

In preparing an appeal, I would expect his legal team to ‘pad’ out his case.

Sheridan’s appeal allegedly also centres on the fact that defence lawyers were stopped from quizzing Mulcaire during Sheridan's trial, after he was excused from giving evidence due to a doctor's note.

As to the non attendance of a witness due to their illness, why didn’t Sheridan and his legal team ask for a postponement?

That is not an unreasonable question which would pass across the minds of anyone sitting looking at his appeal.

I think they better put together some real evidence which is fact based and not speculation otherwise this appeal will be bounced out the door.

A Judge won’t allow a ‘voyage of discovery’ without something to justify the trip.

During the trial, and I think this is clinging at straws, they intend to cite the trial judge Lord Bracadale's decision to stop Scottish comic Des McLean, who previously impersonated Sheridan on the radio, from giving evidence.

So, what could McLean say other that people can impersonate other people’s voices!

Where does that take Sherdian?


That would be put to the sword by an appeal judge as trash!

A crucial piece of evidence in the trial was a video on which Sheridan was heard admitting he had attended sex clubs.

Through-out Sheridan denied the voice heard was his and said there was no scientific evidence led to prove that it was.

Why didn’t Sheridan produce his own scientific evidence and experts?

If the tape was doctored, who did it?

Is Sheridan saying that George McNeilage done it?

Or is Sheridan saying that it was done post McNeilage?

If so, does Sheridan have any evidence to support such a position or is this speculation?

His legal team believe that had McLean been allowed to show his impersonation skills in court it would have cast doubt on the authenticity of the tape.

That is a stretch.

One point which is worth pressing is excusing former escort girl Fiona McGuire from giving evidence at Sheridan's trial on the grounds of illness.

That could be argued successfully I feel but doesn’t however put Sheridan in a better place unless McGuire can give an account helpful to him.

So, what are the odds on a successful appeal?

I would say that bunny depends on how it is written up and by whom.

If the appeal is anything like the 5 hour rant by Tommy Sheridan in his closing speech, he will get nowhere.

The appeal has to be short, sharp and factual and backed up by case law examples up the ying yang!

And I would get in some fresh talent to do the writing up and bin Aamer Anwar.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

excellent post

Law Dog said...


is it your opinion the appeal is without merit?

Anonymous said...

Mr Sheridan did not have to prove his wasn't the voice on the tape. The prosecution had to prove it was his. He is legally assumed innocent, until proven guilty.

Anonymous said...

And now he has been proved guilty.

Remember, the right to appeal is far from automatic. I'd be astonished if Sheridan gets this off the ground. I say it's time for a plea in mitigation.

George Laird said...

Dear Law Dog

To answer your question, I would need to see the finish document of the grounds on which the appeal is based.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Flee to Cuba said...

24 days to judgement.

Dong Dong Dong Dong.