Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day Three Afternoon session.

This afternoon's session resumed with the continuation of Maggie Scott QC's cross examination of Alan Green, past National secretary of the SSP and a key witness on the provenance of many of the documents under dispute in the case.

Carrying on from her morning session (see below) Ms Scott continued to probe the apparent contradiction between Mr Green's testimony in the 2006 libel case and his statements today. In 2006 Mr Green told the court of session that he had "probably" destroyed the original handwritten note made by Barbara Scott which formed the basis of the disputed minute of the 9th November SSP executive meeting. As this note has now been presented in evidence this clearly creates a bit of a problem for Mr Green (and indeed the Crown)

Mr Green's testimony was that he had not seen the note for 18 months and "his focus" was the typewritten minutes. He claimed that when he said he had "probably" destroyed the notes that this was his honest answer at the time which in hindsight he regretted.

Ms Scott then drew attention to a briefing paper from the 21st May 2006, produced by Mr Green in which he refers to his safekeeping of handwritten notes. Alan Green said he was referring to other notes, not the disputed 9th November notes. When pressed that he must have checked the contents of the file of documents he gave to Alan McCombes in June 2006, he said he had only checked the headings and was therefore unaware that the notes in question where there.

Finally Ms Scott explored the meeting between Mr Green, Tommy Sheridan and Colin Fox at the Golden Pheasant public house (at which Mr Green alleges Mr Sheridan asked him to destroy the purported minute of the 9th of November) She queried Mr Green's assertion that Colin Fox had left when the minutes where produced and asked why he would do so as he clearly had already seen them (in 2004)

Re-examining the witness Alex Prentice, QC for the Crown, asked Mr Green if he had formed a "fixed view" about the issues before the 9th November meeting. He responded that while he had "no reason to disbelieve" Alan McCombes and Keith Baldesara's version of events he was waiting to hear Mr Sheridan's version before drawing a firm conclusion. With that he was allowed to step down.

The final witness of the day was Colin Fox, the man who succeeded Mr Sheridan as Convenor of the Scottish Socialist Party. He confirmed the previous witnesses version of the 9th November executive committee meeting even to the extent of describing the atmosphere as one in which you could "hear a pin drop" (the exact phrase used by Alison Kane)

He also discussed a meeting held in the McDonald hotelon the 10th November where Francis Curran and Mr Fox advised Mr Sheridan that the SSP executive had unanimously agreed he should resign. A statement was agreed that would cite a desire on Mr Sheridan's part to "spend more time with his family" He said that Tommy Sheridan was disappointed but accepted the decision. At this point the crown asked if the court could rise and Lord Bracadale agreed.

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