So, back to the Sheridan case. The Scottish press is remarkably silent on the case today – only The Daily Record and the Herald giving yesterday’s events any prominence and filling in some of the gaps from yesterday’s Beeb report.
Tommy represented himself, and the hearing was before Glaswegian judge Lord Gill, the Lord Justice Clerk (the second most senior judge in Scotland) and Lords Kingarth and Wheatley. The prospect of a full appeal involving the Tomster representing himself before Lord Gill will be too good an opportunity to pass up. Lord Gill does not suffer fools gladly and can be somewhat feisty. Political oratory is unlikely to go down well in his courtroom.
The reason for the sist of the appeal is that the News of the Screws are reliant on some evidence currently held by the police in the perjury case. Tommy argued, as has done before, that the newspaper should have got it s material together ages ago (the articles originally complained of are now 3 years old) but the Inner House was always unlikely to uphold this argument. As new evidence forms the basis of the News of the World appeal, and as there is an ongoing police investigation (which will not be complete before the due date for the hearing in December) the court would not want to make a decision that comes before any criminal action – that could in itself justify a further appeal to the House of Lords. the decision is the most economically efficient solution. It avoids running up unnecessary costs in the appeal (through the possibility of a later appeal), and any criminal action (and case, or lack of same) will give a clear steer as to how the appeal should go.
Lord Gill is reported in the Herald as stating,
“It appears to us that the effect of the continuing police inquiry is to inhibit the defenders (News Group Newspapers) in what they perceive to be the proper preparation of their case for a new trial. … We therefore consider it is in the interests of justice that the defenders should be given a proper opportunity to follow up the matters referred to and assemble evidence in support.”
Tommy’s reply, according to the Record, was “The News of the World, with their bottomless pit of money for lawyers, are still dragging their feet over paying out the damages and costs they owe me. The News of the World is desperately searching around for new evidence to bolster their pack of lies and now they have been given more time to look for it. However, I am confident that in the end I will prevail over their millions. … The law is meant to be equal for all irrespective of income. But as Ricky Tomlinson, who plays Jim Royle of the Royle family, would say, ‘my a***’.” I assume Tommy did not use asterisks to make the word a*** more palatable to the sensitivities of prospective Record readers. The Record employed (and may still as it is not a paper I regularly peruse) Tommy’s wife, the fragrant Gail, after the original decision.
The case – as they say – continues.
As does the perjury investigation.