The arrest of Gail Sheridan has galvanised support for Tommy and the “Sheridan seven”. First to leap to the defence was Alan Cochrane, from the Daily Telegraph, who suggested that,
“Senior members of Scotland’s legal fraternity, including some with the closest of links to the Scottish Executive, share my view that the Sheridan case is beginning to show this country’s legal system in a very poor light.”
(Mr C obviously moves in different legal circles to
He suggested that the detention of Tommy in December, while his house was searched, was excessive. Perhaps he should reserve judgment on that until we see what evidence was drawn from the house – relevant to the investigation.
He suggests that the police learned from the earlier incidents by inviting subsequent suspects to attend stations. I’d guess this is not the case. The “swoop” and search of the house – when Mr Sheridan was not there – seemed timed to give maximum surprise suggesting a strategic police reason for this. The later arrests obviously did not require the same strategy.
Further he says,
“Scottish justice is getting a bad name from the Sheridan case. It may not have the trappings of a show trial, but Mr Sheridan’s treatment thus far is beginning to look like cruel and unnatural punishment.”
which echoes some of the views from Ian MacWHirter (see here for some discussion – and note that for unexplained reasons my own attempt to comment on MacWhirter’s article was lost). Repetition dims the effect but to summarise for Mr Cochrane
Originally the police were asked by Lord Turnbull to look at the evidence because the evidence of Sheridan (and 4 executive committee members) was diametrically opposed to that of the other attendees at an SSP executive committee meeting. Lord Turnbull indicated that one lot was lying either to make money (if it was Sheridan), or to destroy someone’s career (if it was the rest of the SSP). At the beginning of the investigation things could have gone either way – the police could have discovered that the SSP minute had been fabricated and the 11 SSP witnesses had falsely presented evidence to discredit their leader and mount a coup to take over the SSP. However, the police investigated, and their investigations (including interviewing the staff of the club in Manchester, tracking the mobile phone records &c) suggested they had evidence that Sheridan was lying. And Sheridan had been the pursuer in an action to get damages from a newspaper which – if he is shown to have been lying – could be viewed an attempt to obtain money by deception which people usually view as being pretty serious and gets you the gaol. For years.
Coupled with other stories reported over the months (in relation to witnesses at the original case) it may be alleged that there was a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. This is something that a legal system should feel strongly about.
Wait for the trial. See what evidence emerges. Perhaps Mr Cochrane and Mr MacWhirter will be surprised.
And Defend Tommy Sheridan has launched a new poster asking
“Whose side are you on?
Tommy Sheridan – a working class fighter against poverty injustice and war
Rupert Murdoch – billionaire media mogul, anti-union tax dodger and his establishment friends”
There’s only one way to resolve that – as Harry Hill – would note
or alternatively, a poll