My long term reader (you know who you are) will know that a few years ago posts about Tommy Sheridan were all the rage. The defamation case; the resultant disintegration of the Scottish Socialist Party; the police investigation; and the exciting appearance on TV’s Big brother all occupied much of the blogging at my former abode. And then I stopped. This was because the case moved into a criminal investigation with charges – leading to the upcoming trial of Tommy and Gail Sheridan.
While there is much rumour and counter-rumour about this it is best not to report this until things actually happen. However, given that the story about Mr Sheridan that led to the defamation action appeared in the News of the World it seemed likely that the recent New York Times investigation into phone tapping or account hacking under the editorship Andy Coulson (editor at the time of the Sheridan story being published) might provoke some interesting lines for the defence to take.
And lo, it came to pass that this morning’s Scotsman indicates that Mr Coulson has been asked to appear as a witness by the defence team. The letter asking Coulson to appear for the defence, sent by Mr Sheridan’s solicitor Aamer Anwar, arrived at Downing street yesterday. Coulson has not responded yet – but if cited failure to attend will carry its own problems. And if he appears then Mr Coulson will have his own difficulties as what on earth could a defence team ask Mr Coulson?
It might be the case that Mr Anwar’s action is more important than those of Lord Prescott, Tom Watson and all. Coulson could be appearing before a judge and jury, answering questions about the culture of the News of the World and its methodology, before any decisions are made south of the border. And if the furore of the past few days dies down – a Scottish court appearance will reignite the embers.
The prospect of the Sheridan trial becomes ever more enticing.