Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Scottish independence: Tommy Sheridan says he is the victim of a widespread criminal conspiracy at he launches another appeal against his conviction, to add to the misery of the SNP and SSP, Sheridan uses the indy referendum as a vehicle for self promotion, don’t you just love politics!

Dear All

Tommy Sheridan is a controversial figure; previously he was a Holyrood MSP along with other members of the Scottish Socialist Party. At that time some people referred to Holyrood as the 'rainbow Parliament'. In some respects the addition of other people not belonging to the mainstream parties was a good thing.

Then the bombshell of Sheridan being outed in News of the World exploded, a sex story, which as everyone knows became high profile very quickly. Sheridan said that the story was wrong and decided to sue the newspaper.

Sheridan won the civil case; he left Court with a clenched fist having beaten the Murdoch Empire.

It was great courtroom drama; Sheridan was awarded £200,000 in damages after winning his defamation case against the newspaper at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
£200,000 is pretty nice money if you can get it, he didn't though.

The Murdoch Empire weren't happy as you can imagine, what always surprised me was Tommy Sheridan's claim that the Murdoch Empire was after him because he was a socialist.

Why would the News of the World care about him in Scotland?

The World turned and Tommy Sheridan found himself back in Court, this time charged with perjury. At that time, Sheridan decided to defend himself, a mistake which I blogged about as that case proceeded.

Tommy Sheridan needed a trial lawyer.

When I spoke to the failed SNP Candidate Chris Stephens, he said he thought Sheridan would get off. How he arrived at that outcome was one of life's mysteries to me, Sheridan was cooked the moment he stepped foot in Court.

George Laird, on the other hand took a different view, the more I read about it, the worse things seemed to get for Sheridan, he was getting found guilty, and the jury agree with me.

Having been found guilty, he was jailed for 3 years, HMP Barlinnie, the Queen reserves rooms there for guests, subsequently freed from free board and lodgings, he left prison after serving just over a year, his reputation and political career was over.  

Fast forward to 2014, Tommy Sheridan is to launch a new bid to overturn his perjury conviction; he is taking his case to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in a fresh attempt to clear his name. If you happened to looked at the daily reports of the trial, you would think that in order to win, he would need a miracle.

Not liking the verdict in my opinion is not grounds for appeal, you might as well say, the verdict was unsafe because the parking bays near the court weren't properly signed well enough or he got convicted because it was really cloudy that day and the jury members might have suffered from the effects of a lack of sunlight.

Sheridan says he is "supremely confident" his "unsafe" conviction will be quashed.

Given the vast number of witnesses from different sources, a confession in front of a large group of people and a video tape, my interest now in this case is; what is the “story”, Sheridan says he is his innocent.

In a previous attempt at an appeal, it was said he had been denied a fair trial because of the amount of publicity generated before it got under way. That appeal was thrown out on its arse as "not arguable" by senior judges.

The latest attempt centres allegedly around that he suffered a miscarriage of justice.

Sheridan will lodge a submission and supporting documents with the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. If the SCCRC accept the case, they can investigate and refer the case back to the High Court for an appeal if they think miscarriage of justice has happened.

Tommy Sheridan would then get a regular appeal.

Sheridan said:

"I am supremely confident my 2010 conviction will be quashed. It was unsafe and unsavoury. We now have the proof required to expose the extent of the fit-up I was subjected to. The truth will out."

If he says he was 'fitted up', then Police Scotland would have to pay a great many people a visit and possibly charge them with perjury if they lied. I wonder if Sheridan's bid is based on some technical procedural mistake by the Crown, I find it hard to believe given the different social groups involved that somehow they all got together to form a widespread criminal conspiracy.

Is it credible that his SSP colleagues were in bed with the Murdoch Empire?

As to the video tape which was presented in evidence, I find it hard to believe that Tommy Sheridan's pal, George McNeilage had the technical expertise required to doctor the tape or he had the ability to organise and find someone to impersonate Sheridan's voice. George McNeilage isn't one of life's great thinkers.

Tommy Sheridan is currently campaigning for Scottish independence; he recently shared a platform with SNP MSP Christina McKelvie at a Yes Hamilton event. The senior SNP figure of John Swinney doesn't think that Sheridan should be associated with the independence campaign and has been pretty vocal about it.

Tommy Sheridan's enemies in the SSP who climbed into bed with the Nationalists can't be too happy either at Sheridan's comeback. Colin Fox sits on the Yes Scotland board, during the Sheridan trial he was pretty outspoken against his former colleague. No love lost there among 'brothers' and 'comrades' it seems.

Two questions, should Sheridan get an appeal and should Sheridan be allowed to take part in the Scottish independence campaign.

On the issue of the first, if he has real evidence and not just a story which sounds like it might be plausible then yes, he should get treated like another other person by the SCCRC.

And if they feel he has a case, then an appeal should be granted on evidence.

If on the other hand it is a load of babbling nonsense, then it should be chucked in the bin. I am also mindful of the reason for his previous appeal being rejected on the grounds of being "not arguable" by senior judges. Is it likely he has stumbled on new evidence, one point I made a while ago, re phone hacking by the News of the World, this isn't grounds to quash Sheridan's conviction. It is immaterial to the conviction because it doesn't affect the evidence.

Claiming they are bad people too isn't a defence; that just means they should be locked up as well.

On the second issue, should Tommy Sheridan be allowed to campaign, this becomes a question of do you believe in democracy, if you do, then the answer is yes, he was put in prison and paid his debt to society, personally think I wrote at the time of his conviction that community service should have been the sentence rather than imprisonment.

Tommy Sheridan is trying to rebuild his credibility with the public, I doubt that will be successful, his political career is utter ruined, his breakaway party called Solidarity is highly unsuccessful. Not only did he kill Solidarity as a political force, he managed to wipe out the SSP who won the 'war' but lost the peace.   

In the Govan by-election where I stood as a candidate, Solidarity scored 28 votes; I spoke to them as I did with most of the candidates. They seemed really nice people and happy with their result, out of 14 candidates, they came 12th.

Given the amount of lying, deception and misleading statements already made in the Scottish independence campaign by the Nationalists and their allies, does anyone really think Tommy Sheridan taints the Yes campaign?

As long as he abides by the rules and laws which are now in force regarding the referendum I can see no harm in his participation. People should make up their own mind whether they wish to choose to listen to him. 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

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