The second witness to appear for the defence on Tuesday at the trial of HM Advocate v Sheridan and Sheridan in the High Court of Glasgow was Ian Fitzpatrick. Mr Fitzpatrick told the court that he had been a civil servant but his job had now been outsourced and he worked for an IT company The witness also told the court that he was a representative for the Public and Commercial Services Union. Mr Sheridan, who is conducting his own defence, asked Mr Fitzpatrick how long he had known him. The witness told the court he had known Mr Sheridan since 2002 and further told the court he had heard Mr Sheridan speak at lots of meetings and rallies, in private conversations and during "poker nights" adding "even though you are not very good at them."
Mr Sheridan then showed the witness a short section of a video, which the Crown alleges is of Mr Sheridan and George McNeilage (you can find a report about the video and a link to a partial transcript Here ) After the clip Mr Sheridan asked the witness if, in his opinion, the voice on the tape was his. Mr Fitzpatrick replied "absolutely not" adding that "in so many ways it's not you." Mr Sheridan concluded his evidence in chief by asking the witness if he was aware of the consequences of being "untruthful in court" and given that would he be willing to risk prison by lying for him. Mr Fitzpatrick replied that "I think we are all aware of that" and added "I have a four year old and a six year old waiting for me at Christmas, no way Tommy" Mr Sheridan then finished his examination and returned to his seat in the dock.
The Advocate Depute then rose to cross-examine Mr Fitzpatrick. He began by asking the witness that if all he intended to give as evidence was his view on the voice on the tape, why had he not given a police statement. The witness replied that he had come home to find a "card" through his door on a Friday evening, from a police officer, and had" thought nothing more of it" until he had come home on Monday to find another card, which he thought was "bordering on the extreme" Mr Prentice asked "a card is extreme" to which Mr Fitzpatrick replied that the police had returned 'within one working day."
The Advocate Depute then asked Mr Fitzpatrick what he had told the police. The witness said he had spoken to a "nice chap" who seemed keen to "distance himself" from the previous investigation. Asked why he had refused to give a statement the witness replied that he had taken legal advice from the defence team who had told him he was not obliged to give a statement. Mr Fitzpatrick went on to say that the treatment of Gail Sheridan (see Here) by the police had influenced his position on the matter especially "her being accused of IRA tactics " adding "I work for the MOD [Ministry of Defence] and was not desperate to be tarred with that brush."
Mr Prentice then asked the witness to explain what he had meant when he said the voice on the tape was unlike Mr Sheridan's "in so many ways" The witness replied "Tone, it struck me he never makes long pauses, the swearing" adding that Mr Sheridan spoke in an "eloquent way" Mr Fitzpatrick further told the court that he had never seen "any behaviour like that" from Mr Sheridan, even when he had been angry especially the "swearing and slang language" Mr Prentice put it to Mr Fitzpatrick that other witnesses, some who had known Mr Sheridan for 30 years had testified that it was his voice. The witness said it was "obvious" it was not Mr Sheridan and that it was "crystal clear it was not him"
The Advocate depute then asked for a brief recess and when court resumed he played to the jury a section of video tape from an interview from Channel Four news on October 3rd 2006, two days after the News of the World had released the "McNeilage tape" Mr Sheridan is seen as saying in this channel 4 video "it is not me, they may have inserted my voice, but who framed Roger Rabbit." and later on in the interview "they may have spliced my voice." With that the Advocate depute ended his cross-examination and Mr Sheridan returned to the lectern to re-examine Mr Fitzpatrick.
Mr Sheridan then had the court staff replay more of the Channel Four video, including a section where he says "we beat the News of the world in the last court case and we will beat them again" adding that the tape is a "concoction" Mr Sheridan asked the witness if he recalled saying, in his earlier testimony, that it was not his voice in the tape but another voice, and asked if Mr Fitzpatrick was aware if there was anyone who could "mimic his voice" The Advocate Depute objected to this question and the objection was upheld by Lord Bracadale. Mr Sheridan concluded by asking the witness "I don't have long pauses and swear when I speak" Mr Fitzpatrick replied "absolutely" and that there was a "stark contrast" between the voice on the video and that of Mr Sheridan, adding "you don't swear like that, there is only one conclusion" Mr Sheridan then thanked the witness for his evidence and Mr Fitzpatrick was allowed to leave the stand.