Friday, November 19, 2010

Keith Baldassara Cross-Examination.

When court resumed at 2pm the presiding judge, Lord Bracadale, made an announcement  to the jury about the course of the trial, and the proposed timetable for the next "chapters" of evidence. We will cover this in a separate post later this evening. Keith Baldassara then returned to the witness stand and Tommy Sheridan left the dock to begin his cross-examination. 

Mr Sheridan opened his questioning by asking the witness about the name Mathew McColl, which he had remembered when asked by the Advocate Depute, but had not recalled in his testimony at the 2006 libel trial. Mr Baldassara replied that he had learned it at some point since, but not recall where. He denied however that anyone had "suggested it to him." The witness then agreed that although he did not have access to Mr Sheridan's diary who would have an "idea" of his engagements and meetings schedule, especially if it was a political rally or a conference.

Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Baldassara if he was a founding member of the "United left faction" of the SSP. The witness replied that he was a "signatory to it's statement" however that the United left was not a "faction" calling it instead a "group of people defending the principles of the SSP." Mr Baldassara also denied Mr Sheridan's assertion that the United Left was a "Party within a party, an SSP within the SSP." 

Mr Sheridan then turned to a meeting held a few days before the 9th November SSP executive, at the home of Alan McCombes. Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that this was a "caucus" and a "pre-meeting to get rid of Sheridan" Mr Baldassara replied that Mr Sheridan had been invited to the meeting but had "not turned up." Mr Sheridan then suggested that Mr Baldassara and others had decided he had "outlived his usefulness" and "got too big for his boots."Mr Baldassara asked Mr Sheridan if he "could provide a shred of evidence for that" adding that Mr Sheridan was using that theory as a "mask" Mr Sherdan put it to the witness that "you know all about masks" and that Mr Baldassara had "spoken to the News of the World in 2006 to politically knife me." Mr Badessera said to Mr Sheridan "I never spoke to the News of the World, evidence" To which Mr Sheridan responded "it's difficult to get evidence when documents are removed and deleted."

Mr Sheridan then discussed the alleged minute of the SSP executive meeting calling them as "fake as a ten bob note" Mr Baldassara replied, "they are accurate, you know they are accurate." Mr Sheridan then brought up a complaint a female SSP member had brought against Mr Baldassara for his alleged behavior outside a meeting, where it was claimed he had shouted and swore at her. The witness said the allegation was "false and fabricated" and added  that has "never been my way" Mr Sheridan that Mr Baldassara had a "nasty streak" and "didn't like it when people stood up to you" Again Mr Baldassara insisted the accusation was false and that there was "nothing to it."

Mr Sheridan concluded by putting it to the witness that he did not care that "his lies could send an innocent man and his wife to jail" and accused him of testifying  for "his sect the SSP." He added that Mr Baldassara's story was a "myth" and that "you don't care what damage you inflict." Mr Baldassara denied that was true saying "no." Mr Sheridan then finished his cross-examination and returned to the dock and the witness was allowed to step down.


Anonymous said...


Legally Challenged said...

Here is another one for the legal Eagles out, there it is my understanding that this witness and the vast majority of prevous SSP witnesses are simply restating what they have previously stated at the lible trial, which was then deliberated on and dealt with by the Jury.
Is there an element of double jeopary here.

Legally Challenged said...

Sorry I meant double Jeopardy

Bunc said...

I woudl have thought not given that the first one was a civil case brought by TS himself !

Anonymous said...

Legally challenged.


the_voice_of_reason said...

Legally challenged: The point is fairly straightforward.

"Double jeopardy" refers to someone being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

In 2006 Tommy and Gail Sheridan gave evidence in a civil jury trial in the Court of Session, where Tommy was the petitioner (Pursuer) in the case. It is now alleged that they knowingly gave false testimony.

This is therefore the first criminal trial arising from the previous case.

In theory, if Tommy or Gail is acquitted in this case and new information emerges, the Crown could raise proceedings in respect of perjury in a perjury trial, but at that stage questions of double jeopardy would almost certainly make prosecution impractical.

Anonymous said...

8.42. Questions of double jeopardy would not be relevant. If they commit perjury this tim, then they can be tried for that. It would be a new alleged crime.

Legally Challenged said...

Thanks all my tag reflects my limited expeience of the court process

Anonymous said...

A brief legal point.
The first case concerned a civil trial (between two private individuals)brought by TS on the charge that the NOW defamed him. He won.
This trial is a criminal trial (between the State and a private individual) that chrages TS and GS with lying at the defamation trial.
If he is proved to have lied then there is no legal issues with double jeopardy.
However what happens if he is found not proven? The purpose of a defamtion action is to restore your reputation (as a legally protected interest under what Stair 4 1 1 states as one of four personal intersts protected by law)
Not proven proves nothing, and therefore cannot "restore your reputation" as the perjury case is based on a defamtion one. Therefore not proven cannot be legally competent?