Friday, December 17, 2010

Lynn Sheridan - Part 2 - Cross Examination & Re-Examination

As Mr Lavell, in place of the absent Paul McBride QC, counsel for the second accused Mrs Gail Sheridan, declined to examine the witness, the Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC then rose and took to the lectern.

Mr Prentice began by asking the witness whether she lectured students about dealing with the police. Miss Sheridan replied that she did, and that she had a good relationship with the police, particularly Strathclyde Police.

Mr Prentice then asked about the witness's relationship with Dr McKerrell, to which the witness replied “We don't socialise at all”. The Advocate Depute probed that they were colleagues at the same university, but Miss Sheridan responded that they were in different departments. Mr Prentice then put it to the witness that, as the accounts of the same meeting offered by the witness and Dr McKerrell differed greatly, one of them must be lying, and that there was no room for compromise on this. The witness replied “No”.

Mr Prentice then moved on to the journey to Edinburgh that Miss Sheridan had recounted in her earlier testimony, stating that the witness had given lots of detail. The witness responded that she remembered it in detail, as on the way home from Edinburgh she had been involved in a car crash, and that there would be an official record of this as it had involved another car.

Mr Prentice then asked the witness about Mr Sheridan's relationship with Mr Fox, putting it to her that, at the time it was a working relationship, to which the witness agreed, and that it was a good relationship, to which the witness stated she could not comment. Mr Prentice then put it to the witness that, regarding the differing accounts of the alleged meeting in BeanScene given by Mr Fox and the first accused Mr Sheridan, one of them must be lying, putting it to the witness that there is no room for compromise. The witness again responded “No”.

Mr Prentice then asked whether the witness had watched the film (the “McNeilage Tape”), which she agreed she had, once. Mr Prentice then put it to the witness “Your position is that is not your brother Tommy Sheridan?”, to which Miss Sheridan replied “Not at all. People who don't know him intimately might think so.”

Mr Prentice then referred to the tape transcript and a section that read “On the Tuesday night, when I was out at Lynn and Carol’s, they were fucking on at me about ‘you better no’ be doing this all again, you’re going to leave Gail with this wean, this is your wean’ blah blah.”, then asked about the family meeting in Bellshill where the scan of the co-accused's unborn baby was shown to family members, and whether such a meeting took place. Miss Sheridan replied that it had taken place, but as it was in Carol's house, it should have read “Carol & Lynn” rather than “Lynn & Carol”.

Mr Prentice then asked “what about Mr McFarlane – was he there?”, and Miss Sheridan replied “No. Not to my knowledge.”

Mr Prentice then asked – if Miss Sheridan & Carol were included in the “McNeilage Tape” transcript, the witness was saying that someone would have had to write this, and by including Miss Sheridan and her sister, this could be checked by asking you about that meeting? The witness replied “Yes – as you are doing now”. Mr Prentice asked the witness to clarify that this family meeting took place on the 9th November 2004, after Tommy Sheridan had attended a SSP meeting, and the witness confirmed it was.

Mr Prentice then asked the witness about why she had not given a police statement. Miss Sheridan replied that this was due to the trauma caused to her niece during the dawn raid on the Sheridan's house, but that she had told the police, once they had come to her door, having originally turned up at her previous address, that she had been happy to speak to the Procurator Fiscal's office, but that nobody from the Crown had subsequently contacted her. Mr Prentice then asked whether Miss Sheridan had been unwilling to give a statement beforehand when Detective Houliston had phoned her. Miss Sheridan questioned the use of the word “beforehand”, Mr Prentice clarified “Beforehand – before appearing in court”, and the witness answered “Yes”.

Mr Prentice then asked the witness whether she was saying that the voice on the tape sounds nothing like Mr Sheridan. Miss Sheridan replied that it was a “cheap imitation”.

Mr Prentice stated he had no more questions and returned to his seat.

Mr Sheridan then rose, left the dock and returned to the lectern next to the jury to re-examine the witness. First, he asked the witness about her relationship with the police, and she stated she had a close relationship with them, and that some of them had come to her leaving do before she moved to Derbyshire. Mr Sheridan put it to the witness that she had “No reason to be hostile to the police” and she replied “No”. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness about the effect the police raid had on her niece, and she stated that from her professional experience she knew how traumatic such an experience could be for a child, that the police had arrived in “flak jackets and tackety boots”, and that the officers involved in the raid had refused her entry to see her niece, and that neither her, her sister or Gail's sister had been allowed to go to the door of the Sheridan's home during the raid.

Mr Sheridan ended his re-examination, returned to the dock, and the presiding judge, Lord Bracadale, thanked Miss Sheridan and informed her she was free to go.


Bobby said...

Wow. Convincing or what.

Tommy Trial Addict said...

This witness has been detrimental to the defence. Prentice landed a couple of hefty blows that strengthened the Crown's position.

Anonymous said...

Have to say a well done to you guys for keeping this pace up! I am sure everyone using this blog thanks you.

ajohnstone said...

Off topic and to repeat an earlier question that may be lost amongst the other comments can anyone tell me of the SSP members and Solidarity members who have been witnesses, who has been affirming and who has been taking the oath on the bible?

Jamesie Cotter Esq. said...

What? Lyn denies Andrew Macfarlane was present. Andrew Macfarlane said he imagined he was at the Sheridan family 'scan' meeting and clarified that he would have made sure he was there!

We know by now all about Tommy and his concerns for the unborn: but has he expanded his case to include a man who wasn't there?

Whatsy said...

I've certainly not recorded that for any witness. Why would you want to know?

Whatsy said...

@Jamesie Cotter

While there did seem to be an inconsistency between McFarlane & Sheridan's testimony - indeed, there was a bit of a gasp from the public gallery when Sheridan said McF wasn't there, followed by Miss Sheridan looking at her brother in an inquiring way - I am not sure what the significance, if any, might be.

Why does it matter who was at the baby scan thing? Are the prosecution trying to insinuate that it didn't happen? I'm totally confused about this, and feel as if I'm missing something obvious to everyone else.

Anonymous said...


I think it was designed to test the general truthfulness of testimony, rather than to make a specific point about who was at the baby scan event.

Bobby said...


I've read it a few times, and can't make head nor tail of it either.

I can only think of two reasons why it might be important:

One is that the prosecution want to discredit both the testimony of Andrew McFarlane and Lynn Sheridan, and the testimony about who was there at the family meeting shows inconsistencies to cast doubt on the rest of their testimony.

The other possible significance might be to do with the 9 November Executive meeting. We know TS left the meeting early. If all the Sheridans were gathered together shortly after the meeting, it might be reasonable to suggest TS discussed the outcome of the meeting when he arrived in Belshill. McFarlane did describe the meeting as 'jovial'.

But I agree, interesting stuff, but confusing.

iain brown said...

i steadfastly remain a "dont know". However after closely following this excellent blog,got to say i am even more unclear than at the trials outset,if thats at all possible.As we draw to a close of this trial(but certainly not the saga) i would like to make/repeat a number of points; 1 this case is an historic precedent for Scots Law. Why? 2: Tens of thousands of investigative hours involving many officers have been deployed by Lothian& Borders police. A force with one of the lowest(if not the lowest) successful rape prosecution rates. I believe this is less than 2% and that may be generous 3: NOTW/NI have spent millions employing up to 20 journalists,several private investigators etc. trying to nail TS. Then we have yet to discover the huge end cost ot the trial itself. Because someone (if guilty) has told fibs(lies) about extra-marital sexual misdemeanours. 4: Andy Hayman who headed the NOTW phone hacking affair resigned from the force 3 years ago this month re. undenied accusations about expenses claims and improper conduct with a female member of The Independent Police Complaints Commission(IPCC)and a female sergeant.Mr Hayman who is married with 2 kids somewhat fortuitiously bags a job with News International as a columnist. He has written for the Times including an artyicle defending the Police investigation into the NOTW,maintaining that that at most,perhaps a handfull of persons were hacking victims. So the organisation whose own NOTW has conducted such a crusade against Sheridan morality see no irony in employing Hayman.5: the CPS down south have not long dropped charges pertaining to the(so called) enquiry into the NOTW hacking revelations because key figures who previously blew the whistle on the NOTW to The New York Times etc had allegedly refused to co-operate with,or give statements to the Police.The CPS then say there is not enough evidence to secure a successful prosecution against the NOTW. Yet their Scottish counterparts (undoubtedly not acting totally independently as with Megrahi) feel they have sufficient weight of evidence to convict Sheridan! Remember we are talking about the same English CPs who have bent over backwards to nail Julian Assage including (unsuccessfully) opposing his bail.Assage remember has committed no crime whatsoever though the US are desparately trying to find some obscure legislation,failing that making up a new emergency law. If bail had been denied he faced more than 2 months detention in Wandsworth ,in solitary confinement 23 1/2 hours a day till the extradition hearing next Feb.So an uncharged person who has committed no crime could have been incarcerated for more than double the time allowed for someone under investigation for alleged Terrorist offences. To return to Mr Sheridan it must surely be now obvious that (as with Assage) this is a political trial first and foremost. Of course to those who "know"/want Sheridan to be guilty this will be an anaethma.Fed up hearing alll this stuff about the sanctity of the law and the "Truth" being sacrasanct. Sounds like Evangelical Crusaders.Seem to remember the poster who earlier described it as "The New Scottish Self Righteousness",Bang on. Come on these people, for once get off your sanctimonious high horses,waken up and smell the coffee. But of course that is just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Odd as it may appear, I find the fact that Miss Sheridan's evidence does not tie in perfectly with what has been said by other defence witnesses to be 'refreshing' as it shows that the answers are not rehearsed as some have suggested.

The fact that she can also remeber details of that particular day because she was in a car crash that day is also quite convincing.

Campbell McGregor said...

I could not say for sure in relation to every witness, but on days I have been in court I have noticed that the large majority of witnesses in this case have affirmed, including I think Bob Bird. Andy Coulson was one of the few witnesses who took the oath.

Mike said...

@Ian Brown, all these points about poor Tommy being hounded by the nasty State and their allies are irrelevant when you remember who initiated the legal process in the 1st place.

Tommy sued the NotW, for a lot of money, and this kicked the process off.

This isn't some state-sponsored witch-hunt, this is the logical consequence of Tommy's actions.

Jamesie Cotter Esq. said...


There is a significant difference between her denial of presence and his assertion. Always interesting when a witness starts to reply
'I would have; I usually do; I always used to...' instead of a clear cut positive or negative reply.
The clash is not helped in terms of impact by the gasp from the gallery and the reported look by sister at her brother as if expecting a clue as to what to say next.
Viewed from my remote location, the joint efforts of brother in law and sister have produced a piece of the Sheridan family jigsaw that does not fit at all.
That is interesting given Macfarlane's alleged role in the Cupids affair. If he does not sing from the same hymn sheet on a straightforward memorable family gathering, what else does not fit?

Anonymous said...

@ Whatsy - TS make a BIG issue out of Nick McKerrell and the Oath/Affirming issue. It may seem like a triviality to MOST people but TS attempted to use it to undermine N McK's testimony.

Jamesie Cotter Esq. Govan said...


This may be irrelevant to the blog whilst the trial is proceeding, but does anyone know how TS's defamation action was funded? He was represented up until he sacked his QC and junior. Was this representation on a 'No Win - No Fee' basis? If so, I wonder what the contract provided for in terms of fees should TS sack his team or lose an appeal?
I am presuming that if it was 'No Win - No Fee' any legal costs would fall on the NOWt unless there was a successful appeal?

Devil's Advocate said...

Spot on Jamesie. From the viewpoint of a seasoned courtroom Practitioner Lynn Sheridan completely "blew it" by the responses that she gave to AP - this was classic text-book stuff. You really had to be there.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.58

The accused made a fuss out of affirming/swearing oath regarding Dr McKerrel.

It's a churlish point though: you commit perjury if you knowingly lie anyway, swear or affirm.

Whatsy said...

Anonymous 12:58pm
Re: "TS make a BIG issue out of Nick McKerrell and the Oath/Affirming issue. It may seem like a triviality to MOST people but TS attempted to use it to undermine N McK's testimony"

True, but it still doesn't seem like a salient point of evidence to record for each witness, bearing in mind there is so much else to be thinking about and writing down. It's very unlikely that whether someone took the oath or affirmed will be referenced any later in the trial than during their evidence in chief or cross-examination, where of course it becomes salient and is recorded, as in the McKerrell cross.

I still don't see any need to report or record it for each, or any witness, unless it later becomes somehow relevant.

Whatsy said...

@Jamesie Cotter

Re: The look Lynn gave Tommy

I wouldn't say it was a look "as if expecting a clue as to what to say next" - it could also have been a "what did I just say that provoked that reaction from the public & Prentice?".

I used the word "inquiring" quite deliberately, as I could not be sure what the look fully signified.

Anyway, I'm stil not convinced it was particularly significant, but an interesting little moment nonetheless.

Eraserhead said...

Maybe it's a new thing, but I can't ever remember having a 'baby scan party' for any of my children (pre-birth).

If this is a new working class phenomenon why haven't Hallmark cottoned on to it and started producing greetings cards for this very special occasion?

There's gotta be money in it.

It does take the twists and turns in this 'Scan-dal' to new levels... groan.

In the immortal words of Jim Royle: "Scan Gathering - My Arse!"

Critical-eye said...

An interestimng point which came up in cross-examination from AP was the question about TS's relationship with Colin Fox. Lynn Sheridan confirmed that it was a working relationship, though she did not go so far as to say it was a good relationship. I assume that the time which was being asked about was the time just after the 9/11 meeting. Remember too that TS proposed CF for the post of Convener.

I wonder if AP intends to make use of this to claim that CF was not part of any faction which was hostile to TS, and therefore had not reason to lie in his testimony.

Max said...

Mike said..

@Ian Brown, all these points about poor Tommy being hounded by the nasty State and their allies are irrelevant when you remember who initiated the legal process in the 1st place.

Tommy sued the NotW, for a lot of money, and this kicked the process off.

This isn't some state-sponsored witch-hunt, this is the logical consequence of Tommy's actions.

December 17, 2010 12:48 PM

The fact is that Tommy took the NOTW to court for libel, that kicked the process off. The money was awarded by the Jury -an unprecedented sum that was not forseen by anyone. But then, maybe he has a crystal ball that forecast the result and you have inside info on this , thus making sense of what you say.

In any event your attempt to dismiss the excellent post by Ian Brown doesn't wash given your deliberate or careleass misrepresenation of matters.

Campbell McGregor said...

Even among those not convinced of TS's innocence, they would not rule out the idea that there could be a political element involved in the prosecution. As someone said to me a while back: "Is it a vendetta? Well, maybe it is to some extent, but a lot of people were warning him 2 or 3 years ago that this was what was going to happen. You can't muck around with their system and expect them not to retaliate."

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

And you don't go running to the Police with the names of Comrades who bravely fought at the Battle Against the Poll Tax either. If it's sauce for the goose it's sauce the gander. The way people's attitude towards the Police blows like the wind stinks.

Denizen said...

The point was that McKerrel made an ass of himself on two occasions. He swore an oath that totally negated his supposed atheist convictions and he insisted that we all call him Doctor. With the rate of illness in this trial a doctor would have been a useful presence in court. I don't believe that the McKerrel evidence is backed up by anything or anyone and should therefore fall. So why am I writing about it? Why is anyone writing about it?

Who gasped when Lynn said Andy was not at the Scan Fest? Could the gaspers out themselves? It is more realistic that witnesses have different recollections of an event six years ago.

Anonymous said...

critical eye said - "CF was not part of any faction which was hostile to TS, and therefore had not reason to lie in his testimony."

yes but which testimony, his testimony in this trial is quite different from his testimony in 2006.

A brilliant little move by Sheridan re bringing up the Fox subornation charge. Prentice would have hoped that this had disappeared but Sheridan brought his diary and hotel receipts that undermined Fox's evidence.

More importantly, these diaries were in police possesssion. It makes you wonder why they didnt ask the hotel where Sheridan's diary claimed he was, to check Fox's story. Once again they seem to have just accepted a witness statement and moved on an assumption, without checking it through. It would have been simple enough to check the hotel in Cumnock, proving that he wasnt in a hotel in Edinburgh as Fox had claimed.

Like the evidence of the peoples festival, Prentice's case has been undermined by the police (lack of) investigation.

If I were Prentice I wouldnt mention Fox in my summing up at all.

To do so would mean explaining his "Benjamin Button" powers of memory, inproving with age :-)

I am sure Fox will feature more in Sheridans summation.

Anonymous said...

MacFarlane wasnt clear on the scan meeting, he said that he couldnt remember being there but imagined that he would have been, he also didnt know a date, so could have been thinking of another gathering.

Bobby, Tommy didnt know the outcome of the meeting at the scan thing, the decision was made after he left. Whether it is reasonable to assume they would have discussed the meeting is neither here nor there, this part of the case relates to the McNeilage tape and the accuracy of the information on it.

James Doleman said...

Hello Campbell sorry but that is, as you say, speculation and no such evidence about train times etc has been presented in court.

Roger Mellie said...


I've been following your blog since day 1.


Thanks for your efforts.

Looks like a "Not Proven" to me.