An interesting story in The Observer. When solidartomsc was set up the other week the role of media co-ordinator went to a close Sheridan ally, Jim Monaghan. Monaghan has been the victim of one of the curses in the case – the leaked e-mail record. The text is quoted by The Observer. Monaghan says,
“‘I belive (sic) that some of the stories about Tommy are true but they are overstated and have added sleaze like drinking and spanking.'”
“‘Tommy was asked if the Notw story (married MSP is swinging spanker) could be him, he said yes, some would take that to mean all of it, Tommy meant that it probably was him as he once went to that club with Anvar Khan. So he denied parts of it (cocaine, champagne, spanking). Some remember the denial bits, some remember the admission bits. Human memories are faulty and we remember things the way we want to.'”
although in his eyes the biggest offence was that of the SSP members that gave evidence. He is quoted as writing,
“‘He believed at the time that SSP members were not going to repeat anything they had heard… I believe that the biggest crime in all of this is encouraging a member to come to a meeting and be frank, then recording his disclosure to be used against him.'”
The position of the other SSP members was extremely difficult. One of their number had already been imprisoned for refusing to release the controversial minute (hardly the action of someone keen to take the Murdoch shilling). Refusal to give evidence would have amounted to contempt of court once cited, and adverse inference could potentially have been drawn – to Sheridan’s detriment, were they trying to hide something? Prevarication in the witness box could also amount to contempt of court and adverse inference drawn.The difficulty for the members of the SSP executive committee arose directly from the action of Sheridan in initiating legal proceedings.
As the Observer notes Monaghan now says he completely believes Mr Sheridan. However, I’m sure the terms of his e-mail will be of interest to the News of the World legal team and Lothian and Borders police. Monaghan may yet face the dilemma his ertswhile SSP colleagues faced. What do you do when asked to give evidence in court that you don’t want to give.