Thursday, December 16, 2010

Duncan Boyle

Mr Sheridan opened the evidence in chief with Mr Boyle by establishing that he is 73, a retired pipe fitter, and has been married for 55 years.

Mr Sheridan inquired how many children, and then grandchildren, Mr Boyle had, suggesting there were “too many to mention”. Mr Boyle responded “Too many for Christmas”, provoking laughter from the public gallery.

Mr Sheridan then asked how long the witness had known him, getting the response “40 years, man and boy”, and Mr Sheridan then asked how Mr Boyle knew him, with Mr Boyle replying “through football”, and that he had coached Mr Sheridan's team when he was a boy. Mr Sheridan asked “were we a good team?”, and Mr Boyle responded “Muirpark - Oh yes, we were the best team in Pollok”.

Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that he had volunteered to be a witness in this trial, to which Mr Boyle agreed and stated that he had been in Asda and “I heard you, couldn't see you”, and that Mr Sheridan had been with his wife “debating about bread”. “I tapped your shoulder – you giving a lecture on bread now?”, and then Mr Boyle related how he had told the accused - “if it comes to court, put my name down” as a witness.

Mr Sheridan then asked Mr Boyle about his contact with police seeking a statement from him before the trial. Mr Sheridan asked if he had been caught cold by the police contacting him, to which Mr Boyle agreed, and that he had not given a statement. Mr Sheridan then asked if the witness was involved in community policing in Pollok, and the witness agreed that he was, as there was a lot of vandalism in the area.

Mr Sheridan then played the witness a portion of the “McNeilage Tape”(which the prosecution contend is a video showing Mr Sheridan admitting various allegations) and put it to the witness “Four Crown witnesses say that sounds like me on that tape – What do you say?”, and the witness replied “You're more methodical. It's not the Tommy Sheridan I know”.

Mr Sheridan then asked the witness “You took an oath today – are you telling the truth?”, and the witness responded “I sure am”.

Mr Sheridan then thanked the witness, asked him to stay where he was as the Advocate Depute may have questions for him, and returned to his seat in the dock.

Mr Prentice rose and stood at the lectern to begin his cross examination, asking “If I can take you back to that time in Asda when you heard Mr Sheridan debating bread – when was that?”, with the witness responding “2009”. Mr Prentice then asked the witness if he had seen the video before that date, with the witness stating that he had – on TV and the computer. Mr Prentice then reminded the witness of his earlier comment “If it goes to court, put my name down as a witness”, and asked what sort of court case the witness expected that it would be, with the witness replying “Fraud... err, no, ... telling lies...” with the Advocate Depute interjecting “Perjury”, and the witness agreeing “Perjury”. Mr Prentice then clarified with the witness that he was prepared to go to court to say it wasn't Mr Sheridan on the tape, to which the witness agreed.

Mr Prentice then put it to the witness that, having offered to be a witness in 2009, and having given a statement to Mr Sheridan's lawyers six months ago, he had not then given a statement to the police on behalf of the Crown. Mr Boyle responded that he didn't think he was going to be here, and that he had only been told yesterday that he was going to be required in court. The witness elaborated that the police had phoned him, told him he was going to be a witness and wanted a statement from him, but that nobody had told him this was going to happen. Mr Prentice responded that the witness knew that it was a possibility he was going to be called.

Mr Prentice then asked about the phone call between the police officer, Mr Houliston, who had contacted Mr Boyle, but found him unwilling to speak to the police, quoting Mr Houliston saying “I've not even asked any questions yet” when Mr Boyle had refused to answer any questions. The witness stated that he had told Mr Houliston “I don't want to listen to your questions”, and that he had no reason to speak to the police as he had already given a statement to Mr Sheridan's lawyers.

Mr Prentice put it to the witness “You didn't want to help the police”, with the witness responding that in Pollok, people were saying to "be careful who you speak to – it could be the News of the World."  Mr Prentice asked whether this meant that it could be “the News of the World pretending to be police?”. Mr Boyle replied “Yes”, and with that the Advocate Depute thanked the witness and returned to his seat.

Mr Sheridan declined to re-examine the witness, so Lord Bracadale thanked Mr Boyle and informed him he was free to go.


Rolo Tomasi said...

Duncan Boyle, retired pipe fitter and digital audio voice pattern linguistic specialist?

I do hope his Lordship carefully instructs the jury on just how much weight to give such scientific, expert opinions.

Anyway, I have to go now - as a speech therapist, I am up early, testifying for the pursuer tomorrow in a claim relating to the striated fracture of a 3/4" ductile iron pipe. I think it was the spot weld.

Anonymous said...

Had only been told yesterday that he was going to be called... what a shame that this poor man getting about his business in Asda has been dragged into this. Note to self: beware who is lurking behind the square loaf selection. Can this defence get any more parochial? Am waiting for references to potato scones, square sausage, The Sunday Post letters page and provy cheques.

Justsaying said...

" do hope his Lordship carefully instructs the jury on just how much weight to give such scientific, expert opinions.

Indeed they can compare their testimony with that of the scientific opinions the Crown gave us with the CSI team of, er, Colin Fox, Carlolyn Leckie, Francis Curran and Alan McCombes. Or in your gimlet-eyed view did you forget that Mr Tomasi?

marvinfaethescheme said...

Interesting pattern forming with this stage of the proceedings.

You have to hand it to the accused. He has a tremendous talent and sense of how to paint the picture - an elderly gent, grandchildren, working class, pipe-fitter, and doing that thing we do when we see a famous person in the supermarket. I can see now exactly the key to his success in politics. Not that I agree with his politics, but as I say, strong intuition of how to connect with a certain viewpoint out there.

Not sure how this will wash with a jury though, which will be more diverse than a tuned-in political audience. At times, it seems a little twee (no disrespect to the witness involved.)

More importantly, the pattern continues as even mild cross examination tends to throw up quite uncomfortable obfuscations and spiky reactions to what are clearly unanticipated questions.

Which tells us that not giving a statement to the police in advance of the trial has possibly created as many disadvantages as advantages for the defence case.

Independent Thinker said...

Marvin Yes, I completely agree with ability of defendant to tap into popular culture so he must be hoping that people making decisions are not only conversant with but supportive of same culture.

Anonymous said...

Not long ago this blog was discussing whether TS was guilty or innocent, now the focus appears to have shifted on to whether his all-too-obvious strategy in my opinion will pay off.

Bunc said...

I am really concerned by the conspiracy that seems to be uncovering in this case. Yesterday a commenter here pointed to potential CIA involvement and today we are led to believe that the NOTW are going round Glasgow interviewing the police.

Is there no end to the datsardly machinations of these evil CIA/ Far Left/ media mogul / MI5 / Police / military industrial complex / random witness conspirators who are, in concert, seeking to "do down" Scotlands most famous historical socialist figurehead?
This is dastardly beyond words and we await further revelations with open mouths. No doubt we will next discover that TS has been "mentioned in dispatches" in some damning secret, wikileaks revealed, dipomatic memo.

Never fear though! - the good pipe fitters of Glasgow in solidairty with the revolutionary vanguard of bread buyers will stop this evil plot!

Sceptic said...

"the NOTW are going round Glasgow interviewing the police"

Did you actually read the post before embarking on, that admittedly amusing" essay?

Anonymous said...

Asda?! Bunc, now that you mention it, isn't that where "ordinary folk" shop?

Justsaying said...

For bunc

A Pan Loaf & A Square Sausage Please said...

Thanks for that, justsaying. Now that is a brilliant tune. TS should put that on instead of keeping playing that daft tape.

Bunc said...

Sceptic I did indeed read it but clearly my dislexic tendancies are playing up not helped by working on two documents at the same time. For interviewing please read "impersonating".

My apologies for causing your brain to do work it shouldn't have been required to do.

No doubt the NOTW were also going round interviewing the police - but not as part of this alleged conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

This bloke used to coach Tommy,'re way ahead of me.

Anonymous said...

The surprising thing here is that the police hadn't interviewed some of the witnesses before now (not boyle of course). Their gaff over the CCA event was a nightmare for the prosecution. They obviously had no idea that there was such an event until Sheridan cross-examined Trolle. The police should have looked at the event, interviewed people about it, established who was there etc. It looks very much like they just took Trolle's word that 'cultural festival' was code for 'swingers club'.

Prentice's attempt at presenting some conspiracy about witnesses not giving statements to the police, (it is the usual practice for defence lawyers to advise witnesses that they are under no obligation to give a statement and most dont when this arises) is like sherrif or even district court stuff, quite desperate.

None of this stuff is unusual, there are a mix of material witnesses and character witneses as well as a lot of questions that are quite obvious nods to what will be in the summation.

There are a lot of posters here who dont seem to been at many, if any, trials.

The gossip today, dont know if this is true or not, is that Prentice has now asked to sum up on Monday instead of Friday. This suggests that something has happened over the last day that changes what his plans were, in my opinion.

Rolo Tomasi said...

@ Justsaying and "expert" witnesses

You're absolutely right, and of course the judge's directions should apply equally to all lay persons who gave opinions. My apologies if my over-pithy comment failed to allow for that inference to be drawn.

I think what did get me a wee bit was that others who have been asked to comment on "the voice" were in the box for some other reason, and had evidence to give relating to a range of issues at the heart of the case.

This poor bloke's whole and sole reason for being in the box was because he had heard Tommy's voice in real life, and had a chance meeting in the bread aisle.

With such a low threshold, there could be a long queue of equally relevant and qualified folk ready to do their bit. Full of sound and fury perhaps, but signifying...?

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine Prentice summing up today, if he has anything worthwhile to say it would have been forgotten about over the weekend, on the other hand if he just had a pile of mince to talk he would get it out of the road as soon as possible. So leaving his summation to a late as possible suggest to me at least that he thinks he has some worthwhile points to make, or maybe he just needs more time to prepare. Anyway, wasn't the original time-line for Prentice to begin summing up on Monday.

Anonymous said...

Just thinking, does AP not have to begin his summation just as soon as TS's case for the defence ends? Interesting...?

Anonymous said...

From what I hear yesterday morning, he was even still going to sum up today. The normal routine would be for the prosecution to sum up immediately after the defence finish.

Although I have just thought of another reason why me might not want to sum up tomorrow. He could be planning to drop some of the charges, probably the one against Gail Sheridan maybe another one or two against Tommy Sheridan. In that case it wouldnt be a good way to start his summation, with an admission of defeat on an issue. And it would mean re-writing part of his summary.

Anonymous said...

I expect AP will keep the Indictment has tight as possible, it would also have the (unintended?) consequence of limiting what TS could refer to his his summation?

Steve said...

So here is a chap who is a role model for young lads in Pollock as a football coach, but thinks he has no obligation to co-operate with the police.

He then observes that there is a lot of vandalism in Pollock. Am I the only one to make connections here that are nothing (much) to do with the trial?

marvinfaethescheme said...

Perhaps the implication being that the police don't do much about it, too busy buying muffins!

But then maybe if the population of pollok are refusing to soeak to the police...hmmm

Steve said...

Bunc 12.11 AM:
"Yesterday a commenter here pointed to potential CIA involvement"

If this refers to me, I should clarify that the link I gave was to US Army counterinsurgency policy after 2007 and not to the CIA as such.

Steve said...


Yeah, on second thoughts I was maybe being a bit harsh there.

Bunc said...

Steve - Humour bypass alert?