The Tommy Sheridan defamation action continued on its merry way yesterday with Gail Sheridan giving evidence. Sheridan, maintaining proper propriety referred to her as “Mrs Sheridan” throughout pausing only to wipe a tear away as Mrs Sheridan wept in the witness box.
Mrs Sheridan’s evidence was roughly as follows:
Yes, Tommy had been a lad. He’d had lots of girlfriends, but there was no other woman/women/men/brothers-in-law now. She believed him and stood by him. As for allegations that he had drank bottles of wine or champagne, he wouldn’t know one end of a bottle from the other (the bit with the hole is usually the top). her diaries had indicated that there was nothing up, and if her diaries were wrong having checked her work roster in her peripatetic air stewardess lifestyle she could have been home at any point and it was apparent that nothing untoward had happened. She reiterated the story that there was a political plot against Tommy and suggested that if he had been been engaging in a swinging lifestyle.
“There is no way I would be here.
“Neither would you. You would be in the Clyde with a piece of concrete tied round you and I would be in court for your murder.
“I can assure you of that right now.”
With that cheery thought the BBC news report ends. However, the papers have made much more of other evidence. Apparently Sheridan is the progeny of Charles Dance’s experiments in First Born and like Esau in the famous passage that founded the twentieth century’s greatest sermon is a hairy man.
As The Scotsman reports,
“He looks like a gorilla. He has more hair on his body than on his head,” she told the jury. Turning back to her husband, she continued: “You seem to have had affairs with everybody and their dog, but there’s been no mention of that.”
So the simian former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party joins Jeffrey Archer in the ranks of political figures whose bodily attributes (as described by their fragrant spouses) form pivotal parts of the evidence in defamation cases. Archer, famously, had a blemish free back – contrary to the suggestion of Monica Coghlan - as was confirmed by Mary Archer, during her notorious intervention in the Archer v Express Newspapers libel case. Archer ended up paying back his libel damages and was ultimately convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Sheridan awaits his fate. There is legal argument today (without the jury) and the jury return tomorrow to begin consideration. Idiot or family man? Audacious hustler or the victim of a conspiracy? Hairy man or smooth man? Will Tommy end up in the Clyde with a concrete block tied to his legs? Or the bankruptcy courts? Or police custody? Or will he return home, his pockets somewhat heavier? The jury will decide.