This week is crunch time in the Sheridan defamation case. He leads his final witness (his grinning, besunspectacled wife, whose white-knuckled trip into court each morning has lightened the evening news broadcasts) and the jury then decide (as he put it): idiot; or family man? Or as other observers might suggest is this the most audacious attempt to win a defamation case taken in a Scottish court; or the mother of all conspiracies?
At the end of last week Sheridan had some good news. An SSP executive member (and professor) Mike Gonzalez claimed never to have seen the controversial minute and believed there was an orchestrated campaign to discredit Sheridan supported by other members of the executive committee (which now seems to be split about 50-50 in relation to the case); and Tommy’s father-in-law gave evidence on his behalf (involving the most expensive plate of chips ever discussed in a Scottish court as an alibi in relation to his attendance at one of the swingers clubs. Sheridan and father-in-law were apparently attending a stag night).
And at last, the case is generating some interest in the English media (I ignore Janet Street-Porter’s comments on Gail Sheridan’s outfits in last week’s Independent on Sunday as not truly representing interest in the case). There was a lengthy article in The Observer which described the case as “one of the most sensational in Scottish legal history” (nah, nothing can compare to the Duchess of Argyll business, and the travesty of the Oscar Slater murder case was pretty sensational – although in my own sphere things will have to go some to be more sensational than Sharp v Thomson or Tailors of Aberdeen v Coutts). This article repeats the “Fact” that Sheridan led the anti-poll tax protests in Scotland (naively I had thought that the anti-poll tax campaign while associated in people’s minds with Sheridan on account of his leaning out of a window tearing up a warrant of sale was actually led in Scotland by the SNP who campaigned on the acronymic slogan Say No to the Poll-Tax). This article, though, contains some interesting information missing from other media reports in relation to Sheridan’s phone records (including 83 calls to Katrine Trolle).
Who knows now how this case will go, and how the fragrant Gail Sheridan will come across in court?
This week Sheridan’s financial future is decided. Will he be one of the first to benefit from the forthcoming reduced discharge period of the Bankruptcy and Diligence etc (Scotland) Act currently meandering its way through Stage 2 before the Enterprise and Culture committee of the Scottish Parliament. His financial position is now all that matters. As I have suggested before the political future of both Sheridan and the SSP has already been shot to hell.