Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 8 Morning Session

Court began slightly late today due to a problem with the equipment used to record the testimony of the witnesses. When this was fixed we continued with Tommy Sheridan's cross examination of Joanna Harvie (see below for the first part of her testimony)

From his position in the dock Mr Sheridan began by returning to the SSP executive meeting of the 9th November 2004 (the "9/11" meeting) He asked if during that meeting she had heard any other serious allegations of a criminal nature against him. Ms Harvie stated that she recalled either Mr Sheridan or Keith Baldassera had mentioned something about a "gun," although she was unclear in what context. Mr Sheridan asked if Ms Harvie had mentioned this to the police in her statements to them regarding this meeting. She said she had not as "They didn't ask me." She was also asked if she recalled mention of a "sex orgy in a Glasgow hotel" she stated she did not.

Mr Sheridan then went on to ask about the disputed "minute" of the 9/11 meeting calling it a "dodgy and distorted account used as a factional weapon in a civil war" Ms Harvie denied this and stated again she believed in to be accurate. She was then questioned about an SSP National Council meeting on the 28th May 2006 (just before Tommy Sheridan's libel case against the News of The World) which was called to discuss the party's position on handing over internal documents to that trial. Ms Harvie described this as a "horrific" meeting with feet being stamped and people being "brutally heckled." She confirmed that meeting, held while Alan McCombes of the SSP was in prison for not handing over documents, had voted to give up the documents to the newspaper's legal team.

Questioning then turned to one of the most intriguing part of the case, the affidavit supposedly given to the Herald on Sunday newspaper by a "Senior SSP official." Mr Sheridan pointed to this as part of the plot to "do him in."Ms Harvie denied any knowledge of this and described Mr Sheridan's idea of a plot as a "ridiculous proposition" saying there was no "secret faction." She also denied any suggestion that the Scottish Socialist Voice, the paper of the SSP, which she edited had shown any bias against Tommy Sheridan or that she was part of an "unsavoury cabal pursuing a personal vendetta."

Mr Sheridan them moved on to discussing a document produced by the United Left Platform of the SSP, and had Ms Harvie read out a list of people who had signed a statement produced by them. Mr Sheridan pointed out that all 20 of the Crown witnesses in his trial had signed this document. Ms Harvie again denied this amounted to a political plot against Mr Sheridan calling such an idea a "fabrication" a "figment of his [Mr Sheridan's] imagination.

Further exploring the  issue of factions Mr Sheridan then asked Ms Harvie if she knew a Roz Patterson, to which she replied she did and she was a friend. She was then asked if she was aware of an article in Red Pepper magazine, authored by Roz Patterson in which she mentions an organisation called the "February 2006 Network" which then says became the United Left in June 2006. Ms Harvie said she didn't recall the article in question. Finally Mr Sheridan put it to Ms Harvie that she was "lying" and was prepared to pervert the course of justice as "part of a factional political war." This she strenuously denied and Mr Sheridan then finished his cross examination.

The deputy advocate then conducted a brief re-examination, in which Ms Harvie again denied lying to the jury. She was then allowed to step down.

The case continued with the testimony of Rosie Kane, an SSP MSP from 2003 to 2007 which we will examine in a post later today.



Anonymous said...

I live in England and know nothing of what was going on in this case. However, I knew things were not as some, if not all those given evidence against Sheridan are saying is true, that there was no "part of a factional political war" going on. How do I know this, I used to watch the scottish parliament on the tv, I used to keep asking myself why is it that Sheridan and often (not always) Rosemary Byrne sat some distance from the other four SSP MSPs?. Something was going on, I thought at the time this party is going to break up. I never did see Sheridan sitting close to the others.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Anonymous. I used to think that Tommy had his own party.... or maybe Rosemary Byrne wasn't his type.... or Rosie Kane's perfume was too strong, or Tommy just liked some personal space.... but now I see the significance. I think that anyone who has ever had any involvement with left-wing politics will find the idea that there is no factional fighting going on hard to swallow.

Anon4 said...

Talking of factional fighting in left-wing groups, in one particular one that I was involved with every tiny little difference of opinion that we had resulted in a NEW group being set up, in the space of a few short weeks after start-up we had SEVEN groups all vying for the same cause, all within the same city. This is why I find it laughable the suggestion that the SSP are unique among left-wing groups in that their behaviour is akin to a group of blood brothers held together like superglue.