Sunday, 26 December 2010

Tommy Sheridan in the Blogosphere

On 4 October the trial of Gail and Tommy Sheridan began at the High Court in Glasgow. Both were accused of perjury.

On 17 December Gail Sheridan was acquitted.

On 24 December Tommy Sheridan was found guilty of perjury on a majority verdict (the actual numbers were not revealed in court).  Throughout the trial several charges were dropped and Mr Sheridan has been convicted of five of the original nineteen charges he faced.  Today it's reported he intends to lodge an appeal against his conviction.

I've been following the trial courtesy of James Doleman who has tirelessly recorded each day of the trial and with impartiality.  His courteous handling of his commenters must also be commended.

It's not my intention to give a personal view of the trial but I would like to mention the abhorrent treatment inflicted upon Gail Sheridan during her questioning by police.  Surely she deserves, at the very least, an apology from the relevant Chief Constable.

During the past few days there have been some varied opinions regarding the issues surrounding the Sheridans and the resultant trial.  I will list them individually to make reading easier.  Apologies if you have written about the subject and have been omitted.  If you wish to be included let me know.

For those who haven't been following the trial, but have an interest in Scottish politics, I hope the links will be of value.

Gerry Hassan

Ian Hamilton QC

Moridura (with thanks for the Gail Sheridan video clip)

Kenneth Roy

Lallands Peat Worrier



Socialist Unity


David Osler

Will Patterson

Political Scrapbook

Latest:  Scotland Unspun, Monday: Ian Hamilton QC


Joe Public said...

The Daily Mash also adds its observations......

Mark Wadsworth said...

If Mrs Sheridan went to Ireland she could start her own political party, called Fine Gail or something.

Hope you had happy Xmas and best wishes for New Year.

subrosa said...

Aye Joe I read that. It was excellent satire.

subrosa said...

Very witty Mark. Yes I had a lovely day thank you and hope you did too. A Guid New Year to you.

John said...

Never mind asking her who trained her. I want to know what volume of "I Spy Police" the detective used to learn his interrogation techniques?

subrosa said...

Aye John. Surely this must be investigated?

All Seeing Eye said...

I've been following the trial on James Doleman's site which has been excellent.

Having now gone through all the other ones in that list seems that I picked the best source early on.

A shame JD never put up a Donate button as a lot of effort went into doing it.

Anon said...

Many thanks for the link.

- Aangirfan

Jo G said...

Hi Subrosa, Merry Christmas to you.

This verdict spoiled mine to be honest. The numbers were eight to convict and six against. One more either way and we'd have had a not proven verdict eh? Best one really in my view considering it was established that the NOTW had been exposed imploring certain people to beef up their claims for money. Is that not perjury too?

For me the trial was excruciating but ultimately the body to implode in all of it was the Scottish Socialist Party which, despite its statement following the verdict, is anything but "in the clear". The behaviour of some within its ranks was lower than a snake's belly.

We will see in the weeks and months to come a new order emerge there. That new order will include a couple who are currently in a relationship. Colin Fox, watch your back but even if you do you are already history! Hope it was worth it.

The plain truth is that Tommy Sheridan with all his faults was worth a hundred of those who now masquerade as Scottish Socialists in the SSP. They cannot see that those who actually made it to the Scottish Parliament did so using Tommy Sheridan's talents, skills, expertise and determination. That they were unworthy showed early when at least one of them went on long term sick leave (courtesy of the taxpayer!) because she couldn't cope with the pressure! That she was one of the most poisonous against him says a great deal about her as an individual. And some of us would say a great deal more about her as an individual were it not for libel laws! I will say she is unfit to represent any constituency in Scotland and leave it at that: other than to say she should climb back up her tree in Pollok Park from where she fell into politics in the first place!

Anonymous said...

Jesus... so not answering questions is terrorism now? I have to apologise to half my teachers then for having just stared blankly at the wall when asked to answer a question I hadn't prepared for in high school, not to mention my parents when I came in late. I never knew I was being a terrorist at them...

All Seeing Eye said...

...which is ironic, lazaruszine, as we know with people like Martin McGuinness that even being a terrorist doesn't make you a terrorist.

And precisely *none* of the 101,248 stops and searches made under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in 2009/10 resulted in a 'terrorist' being found.

It seems that the word is becoming like "racist" or "progressive" in that it can mean whatever suits you at the time.

William said...

I don't really get the complaint, SR. When you refuse to answer even basic questions then the police are entitled to be curious. It's clear they were trying to shock, provoke some kind of reaction - which I think is legitimate in a police interview room. The fact Gail wasn't shocked at being told she was using known terrorist interrogation techniques is actually surprising.

The pair of them deserve each other. She must have known what he was up to but chose to ignore it for her own reasons. He decided to sue a newspaper over a story he knew was true. If he'd simply let the story go in 2004, people would have forgotten about it as they do with every other 'scandal' in that paper. His ego, or his marriage, meant he couldn't let it rest. And now he'll pay the penalty.

Revealing moment outside the court when he went to kiss her on the cheek and she turned her face away, opting for a hug.

subrosa said...

Yes it is a shame James didn't put a donate button up ASE. Couldn't agree more that his account has been excellent.

The other blogs of course are mainly opinions on the verdict rather than daily records.

subrosa said...

My pleasure Aangirfan. As always you give me food for thought.

subrosa said...

Hello Jo. Ah you found the numbers. So close and yes, I was disappointed and agree with you.

I don't know much about the SSP these days but I will keep more of any eye on them.

You've rung a bell with me there about the one who went on long term sick leave. I've heard Tommy speak a few times and always thought what a tremendous benefit he'd be to the SNP. He was a threat to Labour of course. That's maybe why his peers voted the way they did. The Edinburgh jury weren't so politically motivated.

subrosa said...

Isn't that just appalling lazaruzine? Even if someone doesn't agree with Tommy's politics, treating someone in this manner bring our police down to the level of those from 65 years ago.

subrosa said...

Don't you William? The police's job is to shock you say.

Actually William I too must be a terrorist because I learned that technique as a child and it used to infuriate my mother. When she wanted me to drop my brother in trouble I just used to focus on something and keep quiet.

banned said...

Not familiar with the backstory here but as for the interview Gail could equally well have "learned the technique" by watchibg any of half a dozen episodes of "Spooks", or by following Nightjacks famous advice "Keep your mouth shut
Say as little as possible to us. At the custody office desk a Sergeant will ask you some questions. It is safe to answer these. For the rest of the time, say nothing.

" Likewise Subrosa I remember doing it when being hectored at by my parents for some supposed misdeed.
I expect it is what the military call 'silent insubordination'.

Jo G said...

William, police may well be "curious": it does not give them the right to accuse a person of being involved in terrorism.

As for the leaking of those interviews in the first place, was that ok with you too? Because it was a serious breach on the part of the Police. Even some within Strathclyde Police have expressed shock at the tactics used on Gail. They knew the Sheridans well. I recall one occasion when Tommy was being "lifted" (literally) at Faslane and the polis who carried him off told him he'd put on weight since the last time!

Jo G said...

Banned the other possibility is that she is unaccustomed to finding herself in that sort of situation and, like any of us might be, was quite terrified. I'm sure the shock would render anyone silent.

subrosa said...

Part of the background banned, is that 8-10 police spent 6 hours searching Gail Sheridan's home prior to this interview. She obviously contacted her lawyer, which any sensible person would, and was given the advice.

subrosa said...

The tactics were disgusting and show that the case was politically motivated. That's my opinion for what it's worth Jo.

Jo G said...

Well you know Subrosa, I read Ian Hamilton's views on this, many of which were made public before the verdict.

He makes the very fair point that Sheridan won his first case in the presence of a jury who clearly did not believe those who testified against him. The jury chose to believe Sheridan and his own witnesses. Hamilton points out that the liars, per the jury's conclusions, were not the Sheridans and yet the Crown chose to immediately go after the Sheridans for perjury. Set out so simply it truly makes it only too clear that there was more to this decision to ignore those the first jury decided were lying and go after the Sheridans instead.

subrosa said...

Jo, did you read Alex Porter's post? That's the one I put at the end as an update.

He thinks along similar lines to me. Sheridan had to be stopped from taking more votes from labour. He was splitting the west coast socialist vote and the establishment didn't like it.

Jo G said...

Yes Subrosa I read Alex' post on this. I see he too highlighted Ian Hamilton's point that it is truly bizarre that the side who won the first trial was the one the Crown investigated for perjury.

The comments on Alex' post are interesting too.

Alex also took the SSP to task for declaring themselves to be "in the clear" following that verdict. The numbers say that almost half of the jury didn't believe them.

The SSP put a disgusting statement on their site after the verdict. It contained the following:

"By his actions over six years, Tommy Sheridan has disgraced himself and negated his political contribution to the socialist cause over 25 years. History will now record that he did more harm to the socialist cause in Scotland than any good he ever did it."

This Tommy Sheridan they speak of is the same man without whom their Party would never have come into existence. They dare to attempt to wipe out all he did to fight poverty and to strip him of all credit for any of it. They also say they did not act out of vengeance. Well I must say if publicly declaring that Sheridan contributed nothing to the socialist cause in Scotland is not an act of vengeance I really don't know what is.

William said...

SR, the job of the police is to find out information. I like Law and Order as much as anyone but this isn't TV, this is reality. There's no benefit in simply stonewalling them. Refusing to answer whether she's married to Tommy Sheridan? Where is the intelligence in that? It simply arouses suspicion in the police - legitimately so - and makes them wonder what your problem is.

The fact you did it as a child is revealing because it is just childish. It's a dead-end and only of benefit to people who want to stall an investigation for as long as they can - now why would Gail Sheridan want to do that?

I 'helped police with their enquiries' 2 years ago over an incident. I was out of the police station in under an hour, the police thanked me for my co-operation and it never went any further. There's no sense in keeping silent. We're all adults and you're free to speak, on tape, your views and rebuttals. What next? Holding your breath until you get what you want? Come on now.

Jo, read Tim Pat Coogan's 'The IRA' and it is a known tactic taught to their recruits. However, the police officer did not accuse Gail of being involved in terrorism. He simply makes an observation that it's normally a tactic reserved for 'them' (listen to the tape and he makes a particular inflection when saying 'them' so that, in fact, he makes a distinction between Gail and terrorists) so he's curious as to why Gail feels the need to use it. I don't think that's an unreasonable observation.

Ultimately, if Tommy hadn't dunked donuts behind his wife's back, neither of them would be in this mess. I don't think MSP's should tell lies in court and the fact Sheridan was so cavalier with respect to the oaths of the Scottish legal system, makes me wonder what else he was cavalier about.

Jo G said...

I'm sure Labour will be well pleased Subrosa, definitely. They haven't just seen Sheridan off but almost certainly the two socialist Parties, the SSP and Solidarity, as a result of this. I think the SSP will fare worse personally because of what they did to one of their own. There is now seriously bad blood around too which would make it difficult for any reasonable person who wants to pursue socialist company to risk getting caught in the crossfire between these Parties.

Jo G said...

William, did you actually watch the video? The officer who interviewed her was clearly in an imaginary world of his own by accusing her of employing "terrorist tactics" by exercising HER LEGAL RIGHT to remain silent! He actually mentioned the IRA and the Provisional IRA. He had no right to associate Gail Sheridan with any of that or imply such a thing. It is not acceptable for Police to behave like this and you are remarkably laid back about something which is shocking.

Jo G said...

He also asked how outright who had "trained" her in the "technique" for goodness sake. Trained? In exercising the legal right not to say anything? It was an outrageous breach of authority on his part and quite unnecessary.

And incidentally someone somewhere with L&B acted mighty illegally themselves by leaking material covered by DP law to the press concerning interviews involving the Sheridans. Who will prosecute that do you think?

Jo G said...

"Jo, read Tim Pat Coogan's 'The IRA' and it is a known tactic taught to their recruits."

William, are you seriously suggesting that anyone who exercises the legal right to remain silent is potentially with the IRA?

And it really doesn't matter what you would choose to do in the same situation. The fact is Gail's legal advice was to remain silent. And that advice should NOT have led to a Police Officer saying what this particular officer did.

Alex Porter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
William said...

Jo, I did watch the video. If you'd read my comment, you'd notice that I commented on the officer's speech pattern when asking the question.

Exercising your legal right to silence does not mean the police are not allowed to try and interview you and try and get you to open up. Incredible as it may seem, not everyone who goes into a police interview confesses in the first hour. It's not like TV. The police have to use a variety of techniques.

The interview had clearly been going on for some time and, in the absence of any response from Gail, the police have to try various ways to get the person to open up. I think the police were bemused by the tactic and thought that by pointing out its use by hardcore criminals, Gail may have been embarrassed into speaking. They counted on there being shame when there was none.

If Gail Sheridan was appalled at the statement, she was at liberty to refute it. She chose not to do so. The only reason one would avoid speaking in a taped police interview is to avoid incriminating oneself or someone else. In my experience, you don't have these complications when you simply tell the truth. You should always tell the truth. I daresay Tommy and Gail will have ample time to reflect on that.

Jo G said...

William, I do not know why any police officer would be "bemused" by the idea of anyone exercising the legal right to remain silent. It happens constantly I'm sure and is often the advice given by solicitors to clients.

Now, regardless of what YOU think a person should do, can we agree that exercising the right to remain silent is a legal position adopted by many during police questioning and that Gail Sheridan, in choosing that option, did nothing wrong?

I do not think you can do anything other than agree with me on that point. Which means the Police Officer's decision to introduce the subject of IRA tactics into the discussions was not just inappropriate but also highly offensive and questionable.

Jo G said...

Oh and William, I did not remotely suggest the police did not have the right to "try and interview" Gail Sheridan. What I'm saying is that they had no right whatsoever to introduce the IRA or the provisional IRA into the process. If you ask me it was the police officer in this situation who very clearly thought he was on tv!

Jo G said...

Alex you believe the SSP is naive to suspect it can move on from this and win support in the future? My own view is that it will fold so contaminated are many within it by this entire mess.

William said...

Jo, no-one said that the legal right to silence doesn't exist. I merely point out that it doesn't mean the police have to withdraw from the interview process. I think when you refuse to say whether you're married to your husband, the police would be bemused by that. I think any rational person would.

The police have every right to probe the subject and find a way 'in'. I think your hair might turn white if you found out some of the things police might say to get a reaction from subjects. It is perfectly legitimate and the only person who could be offended by that specific question was Gail Sheridan and, as she did not respond to it, we can only assume it wasn't that much of a problem for her.

Once the silence is broken and the person starts talking, they tend to keep talking. I daresay the police might have said some unpleasant things about Tommy to her as well. Aye, being interviewed for perjury in a police station isn't a cosy chat, I'm afraid. Your obsession with this remark probably hasn't allowed you to consider why Gail felt it necessary to say nothing. What did she have to hide?

Jo G said...

William there is no obsession here, not even slight. If I keep repeating the point it is because you seem to keep missing it. I simply watched a video tape of a Police Officer behaving abominably towards a woman who exercised her legal right to remain silent. I will not apologise for the fact that I found it shocking.

Rather I think you should feel ashamed that you have gone to great lengths to excuse such behaviour by the Police. YOU are the one who seems determined to justify anything police do.

I ask you again did you LISTEN to the tape? She was following LEGAL ADVICE. She explained this quite clearly. Which part of that do you not understand? Which part of it did the Police not understand before they sought to bring in imaginery "training" by an organisation such as the IRA?

You seem to be comfortable with anything the Police do in response to a person who exercises the legal right to remain silent. I would call that worrying personally.

You also assume a great deal about anyone who exercises that option. For one thing you clearly believe they must be guilty of something, or, as you say, have something to hide. That is sheer speculation on your part and you cannot present it as fact in this argument. Gail may have wanted to speak face to face with her solicitor first. That is no crime as far as I know. Perhaps he wasn't available at that time, who knows? It certainly doesn't mean she had "something to hide".

I will make the point once more William: choosing to remain silent during a police interview is something many attending such things do all the time. It is not unusual and is a legal right. Police know this. Any Police Officer, therefore, who decides it is a sign of terrorist training in the person being interviewed is a fool and it is his motives I would question, not Gail Sheridan's. I would also remind you that she was ultimately ACQUITTED of all charges.

I respect the Police incidentally. Nevertheless it is behaviour like this by some, and the leaking to the press of material relating to the Sheridans which breached their rights under Data Protection laws, which leaves Police open to suspicion themselves. Public confidence in the Police can only be undermined by such conduct.

subrosa said...

I didn't read the SSP's site Jo, the SSY was enough for me.

subrosa said...

I don't watch much TV William but I do know that even some police are embarrassed at how Gail Sheridan was treated.

William, we have rights by law. She chose, on the advice of her lawyer, to exercise hers.

Another thing William, people lie in court every day.

subrosa said...

I think the west coast socialists are well and truly finished now Jo. I mean, who would vote for them after this.

subrosa said...

Repost of Alex Porter's comment:

I think you deal supremely well with this matter in highlighting the police interrogation. I think the 15 cops raiding their house is also mindblowing.

The venom and glee which so many so-called socialists have shown over this verdict whilst ignoring the conduct of the police and the judicial system serves to demonstrate thier viciousness and petty factionalism. They care not a jot about the cause they claim to care about. They are shameful.

When Castro was asked to comment on the assassination of JFK, whom he despised, he took no pleasure in it saying: "Only a fool would rejoice at such a tragedy".

27 December 2010 16:20

subrosa said...

That's my opinion also Alex. I can't believe those who say they fight for justice for the 'working man' can't see how the treatment of the Sheridans was.

They have their own agenda. We shall find out what it is in time I'm sure.

Jo G said...

I think you're right about socialism being finished here Subrosa. The SSP, surprisingly, seem to think otherwise. I'm not sure how they can be hopeful about that because I think they will get buried now in any election. This was a group where there were serious power struggles going on long before all this other stuff. I think it shows just how deep the hatred goes that they have actually committed to print the statement that Sheridans's contribution to socialism in Scotland is now "negated". That is a shocking, spiteful and pretty evil thing to say. I'm sure they only wish it was negated and that they could erase him from their past. Except that would be difficult for without Sheridan their Party wouldn't even exist!

subrosa said...

Aye Jo, they've shot the messenger who was also their provider. Labour must be thrilled to bits.

William said...

Jo, as has been repeated several times now, there is nothing abominable about the police asking questions or making observations in a taped police interview. It. Is. What. They. Do.

Asserting your legal right to silence does NOT mean the interview process immediately ends and the police walk out of the room. They WILL continue to try and get you to co-operate. Horror of horrors, they may even say things you do not like. Gail Sheridan had EVERY opportunity to reject the statement you find so offensive. She chose not to do so.

The police acted well within their powers and you'll find Mrs Sheridan has absolutely no recourse in law against them. It was ENTIRELY LEGITIMATE. For you to then assert that this amounts to me giving the police a free pass on anything is simply the height of mental illness.

"I would also remind you that she was ultimately ACQUITTED of all charges."

Absolutely comical. Your comments above are witterings of conspiracies against Tommy Sheridan and swipes about his former SSP colleagues for daring to, er, tell the truth. So you want to dispute the legitimacy of the verdict against Tommy, when it suits, and want to support the legitimacy of the verdict in favour of Gail, when it suits. What a comedian!

Jo G said...

William the personal insults you level here at me - mental illness among them - are beneath contempt. I am disappointed you chose such a route but that's your problem. Very poor show.

subrosa said...

I too think William has become personally insulting Jo and would be happy to remove his comments if you wish.

I left them published to show how nasty some can be when their opinions are questioned but that's the only reason.

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