Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tommy Sheridan's Show Trial

Like an old fashioned public hanging, Tommy Sheridan's show trial was about beating down on the radicalised poor and reducing them to docility, capable only of reading Ruper Murdoch's News of The World.

Soon we'll get to see him been wheeled away to prison. What a shame for Rupert Murdoch that we no longer use the guillotine as that really would terrorise people out their wits. In the end though, it may well be to Rupert Murdoch's benefit that we don't given that our economy is heading into French revolution territory.

Now, I've heard various justifications for his verdict but they are all based on opinion. There have been some rancourous exchanges between Tommy's followers and and others in Tommy's former party - the SSP. The SSP have pointed to the verdict arguing that they've been vindicated after years of persecution.

I'm afraid the SSP will never shake this off. The way the trial was conducted casts serious doubt over the verdict as pointed out by Ian Hamilton QC. Ian's comparing the miscarriage of justice in the Sheridan case with that of the Lockerbie case is unfortunate and shows, I think, Ian's rightful distress at the verdict.

Many will and have speculated that Sheridan is guilty of perjury but guilt must be PROVEN not believed if a person is to be found guilty of a criminal charge. In the case of Tommy Sheridan the jury was directed to accept evidence, the reliability of which is more than dubious, as hard.

The Lockerbie case does show that the Scottish justice system can be lent on to provide favourable results for the powerful. And you don't get much more powerful than Rupert Murdoch.

If the SSP were to be taken seriously they'd realise that this verdict sends out a message to the wider population. The message is a threat to all of us. We must not seriously challenge authority or we get the same treatment as the Sheridans. This is the type of behaviour we expect from totalitarian regimes. The hounding and harassment of political figures shows that a society is in deep trouble.

We now live in times where banks extort trillions of pounds of taxpayers money from the government and are protected while at the same time a left wing politician is villified for his alleged sexual proclivities by the gutter press and then subjected to investigations costing the public millions of pounds and a show trial with an unsound verdict.

Why are we even interested in Tommy's sexual conduct? Jealousy? Our own sexual repression? Who cares what Tommy got up to? As to the cost, the police don't respond to burglary calls in housing schemes for hours yet here we have millions being spent on a perjury investigation.

Is Scotland entering a period of McCarthyism? The reality is that we are. Hyped stories of terrorists everywhere, perpetual wars, wealth confiscation are all signs that Britain is now in its death throws, controlled by extreme kleptocrats and so thoroughly corrupted it is unable to function for the public good. Democracy is over.

Just like the French Revolution the kleptocrats are trying to keep control and how better to do that than have the people fight among themselves. We now see the English being driven to hatred of the 'parasitic' Scots so as to deflect attention from their misgovernance. This is where Murdoch's powers lie. He can turn the people against the government at the flick of a switch. They are terrified of his power.

Political organisation of the poor must be battered down. This is the real motivation behind the Sheridan show trial. Don't get me wrong, his politics doesn't grip me and his vanity less so, but Sheridan threatened the Glasgow power-base of the Labour party. This power base is what ties Scotland to the union. Tommy was eating into Labour's Glasgow colonies suits the British establishment. Labour get the votes as long as its voters remain poverty-stricken and beaten into submission. This is done using popular leftist language about sticking it to the bosses. The poor in and around Glasgow are proud and defiant and that language keeps them believing they are still stuggling against their oppression. The trouble is the party which pretends to protect them sold out long ago. Tommy was taking on Labour from the left and had to be stopped at ALL COSTS.

In the end Tommy Sheridan had numerous powerful enemies. The Scottish justice system delivered him on a plate.

One wonders what leverage Murdoch had over the Scottish justice system. The truth behind the Lockerbie Show Trial? Just who is the Scottish justice system now beholden to?

The manner of the raid of the Sheridan family home was a disgrace and raises further questions about Britain becoming a police state.

Watch the police interview of Gail Sheridan below. This is the wife of a public figure, former party leader and MSP. and yet she is being intimidated by a police detective who tells her she's behaving like a terrorist!

I'm sorry but this is unacceptable. The conduct of our police and justice system is an attack on the dignity of all Scots. If we do not unite against this outrageous series of events then we are nothing but pathetic excuses of citizens.

What self-respecting nation would let the News of The World drag it through the gutter the way it has. The case of Tommy Sheridan is now being flaunted in our faces. The message? Don't forget who's boss!

I suspect Tommy Sheridan will, once more, achieve martyr status. The press hounds are trying to bury him already but this story is not over. Like Wikileaks hero Julian Assange, also labelled as a pervert, the frothing establishment realised they went too far and could not keep him locked up lest he become more powerful.

It wouldn't be a surprise if Tommy's appeal, now lodged, will be gladly upheld.

video with thanks to Moridura


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Update:
Here is very interesting article on the Tommy Sheridan trial by Kenneth Roy Why the Sheridan case may return to haunt Scottish justice

20 comments:

the_voice_of_reason said...

I'm sorry, but I found your comments preposterous from start to finish.

This was a "show trial" in which both accused were permitted the services of a solicitor plus senior and junior counsel at public expense, where several charges or parts of charges were withdrawn, and where the verdict was delivered by a randomly selected jury?

You proceed upon the assumption that the prosecution was in some way acting either in the interests of, or under the bidding of, Rupert Murdoch and News International. If you choose to believe that, then that is a matter for you, but I can assure you that your belief has no basis in reality. Crown Office acted in this case exactly as they should have done when presented with a clear sufficiency of evidence that a crime had been committed. This was in fact the third prosecution for perjury in non-criminal proceedings in the last twelve years.

While I had in the past a great deal of respect for Ian Hamilton QC, it is regrettable to see him in his twilight years turn into a sour, embittered and paranoid man whose fact-free and defamatory rant does him no favours.

"In the case of Tommy Sheridan the jury was directed to accept evidence, the reliability of which is more than dubious, as hard." I am baffled by this comment. The assessment of evidence is a matter solely for the jury, and no judge ever directs a jury to "accept" evidence as "hard", whathever that may mean.

"We must not seriously challenge authority or we get the same treatment as the Sheridans. This is the type of behaviour we expect from totalitarian regimes. The hounding and harassment of political figures shows that a society is in deep trouble." Once again, this leaves me utterly baffled. Tommy Sheridan chose to sue News International for defamation. The jury's verdict is that in doing so he deliberately and knowingly gave false evidence in court. He denied this, and was afforded a vast amount of state help to challenge the accusation of perjury. He chose to represent himself, and must therefore accept the consequences of his own folly.

The "investigations costing the public millions of pounds" were a direct result, not of Tommy Sheridan's sexual preferences, but of his lying in court for personal gain. The verdict of the jury demonstrates that he sought to enrich himself to the tune of £200,000 by dishonest means. By your logic, should frauds, embezzlements or bank robberies not be investigated if the alleged perpetrator is a hero of the proleteriat? If not, why not? Would you regard the prosecution of Jeffrey Archer as a "show trial"?

You start here by implying the case was driven by Murdoch, then seem to end by suggesting that his powerful enemies included the Scottish Labour Party establishment. Thus, Tommy Sheridan's conviction was a result of the Establishment ensuring a verdict that favoured two wholly opposing forces. Alternatively, the jury heard and saw the witnesses and determined that Tommy is a liar. I suspect that I might cut myself shaving were I to borrow Occam's razor.

Catosays said...

You, sir, are a complete and utter numpty.

The man lied on oath. It wasn't a show trial.

Alex Porter said...

@Catosays,

Do you have an argument? Ofcourse, we can't stop you from not having one whilst insulting people any more than we can stop you howling at the moon.

Alex Porter said...

The voice of reason,

Take this fact from Ian Hamilton. Facts are not bitter.

"In all my years as a lawyer I have never known a case where the successful side in a civil action was prosecuted for perjury. If anyone had to be prosecuted it was the side held to have lied under oath."

By allowing this trial to take place at all it casts aspersions on the witnesses of the side which won the civil case.

Another fact from the 'bitter' QC:

"Mr Sheridan won his civil case because the jury believed his witnesses and disbelieved those for the News of the World."

According to you and our howling friend above Sheridan's witnesses and the jury in the civil case are 'preposterous' and 'numpties'.

"This was in fact the third prosecution for perjury in non-criminal proceedings in the last twelve years."

But not of the side that won the civil case.

Why were the News of The World witnesses not charged with perjury?

Given our knowledge of Murdoch's empire and his interference in the politics of countries around the world, I think it is entirely naive to imagine he did not seek to influence events.

"Ian Hamilton QC, it is regrettable to see him in his twilight years turn into a sour, embittered and paranoid man"

Isn't it a shame when people are reduced to such character assassination? Anyone else you'd like to publicly hang?

The fact that Sheridan was 'afforded vast sums' is neither here not there. Had he not been put on trial the taxpayer would not have footed the bill. Another in a litany of strawman arguments.

"The verdict of the jury demonstrates that he sought to enrich himself to the tune of £200,000 by dishonest means. By your logic, should frauds, embezzlements or bank robberies not be investigated if the alleged perpetrator is a hero of the proleteriat?"

That is not my logic - you again misrepresent me. Banks are part of our financial system and have legal charters. The government has been complicit in covering up systemic fraud by in the financial system.

Comparing vast wealth transfer and the impoverishment of entire populations with a man you believe to have lied to get 200K compensation shows that your take on this whole sorry episode is simply emotional.

Like our howling friend above you have ignored the video I posted. I suppose the treatment of Gail is of no conequence to you then? You can overlook human rights abuses when the authorities are persecuting those you don't like?

Then you rest you rest your conclusion on the notion that News of The World and the Labour party are opposing forces.

Where is the evidence for this assumption?

I too have some reservations about Ian Hamilton's opinions from time to time but his argument here holds a lot more water than yours!

Alex Porter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

"Who cares what Tommy got up to?" I suspect precious few but he brought this upon himself by going to court

the_voice_of_reason said...

Briefly then:

Jeffrey Archer won his libel case in England, and was subsequently convicted of perjury, when new evidence came to light. I see no qualitative difference. In each case the original jury found evidence to be acceptable that a later trial found to be deliberately false. The law must allow the verdict of a jury to be overturned if fresh evidence indicates that their verdict might have been different had they known the new facts.

You consider my comments about Ian Hamilton to be "character assassination"; I do not, and find your reference to public hanging puerile.

It was you who used the term "show trial". Perhaps you might like to share your knowledge of states that provide "show trials" before randomly selected juries, where the accused is provided with the services of top counsel at the expense of the state? Do you seriously deny that there was sufficient evidence in law to justify a prosecution taking place?

I have seen the excerpt of Gail's interview. While the questioning was infelicitously phrased, I fail to see any "human rights abuses". She exercises her right to silence, and is NOT directly accused of being a terrorist. While it would have been preferable for the question not to have been put in these terms, I hardly think it counts as the abusive interrogation some have suggested.

Anonymous said...

I liked what Tommy stood for,i liked fact that he took a working wage when an mp,i may not have voted for him but he stood out from the in crowd.

What he did in his own home etc did not affect my opinion of him, it is no different and in some ways less offensive that what some part of the elite get up to.

Tommys failing was to take on the NOTW when he knew he had done what they claimed. He should have let it become tomorrows chip paper

Alex Porter said...

@John,
The point John is that the gutter press attack people on the basis of their sexual expoits. If the papers can do this it is only right that they are held to account.

It is sickening that the taboids do this and more so that we suck it up instead of ignoring it.

Perhaps Tommy did lie but that was not PROVEN. The criminal court took evidence from witnesses who were already tainted in a law court.

Allowing such perjury charges against the victor of a civil case hasn't happened in living memory - that is the real issue which everyone is missing because basically they don't really like Tommy Sheridan.

What we see here is lots of people jumping on a bandwagon for their their own reasons and ignoring the civil and human rights abuses suffered by the Sheridans in this case.

These are far more worrying than anything else about this case and as citizens we should make that clear. If we don't then we've been reduced to the gutter by News of The World.

Alex Porter said...

the voice of reason,

" it is regrettable to see him in his twilight years turn into a sour, embittered and paranoid man whose fact-free and defamatory rant does him no favours."

This is not argument, it is opinion stated as fact and is therefore character assassination. You may not like to have your antics shown to yourself for what they are but doing so does not make me puerile but yeh, you seem to have a thing for throwing around insults for anyone who disagrees with you.. "voice of reason" - I think not.

You seem to be confusing 'show trial' with 'kangaroo court'. A show trial is going through the process of a trial but with a predetermined outcome. This is done through manipulation of what appears to be a 'fair' trial but which is not. Your argument about randomly selected jury is neither here not there.


Some more facts from the "bitter" Ian Hamilton QC "They were prepared to spend the same sum that Mr Sheridan got in damages on buying a video from a known thief. No attempt was made to have the tape examined by a voice expert. It was presented as it came as though it needed no further examination. I have never known a prosecution case that relied on voice recognition to go to a jury without being supported by expert testimony. In this case there was none."

Is it any wonder there was only a majority of the jury in favour of the verdict and that members of the jury burst into tears when it was read out?

Tainted witnesses from a civil trial, video footage not examined by an expert considered admissible evidence?

Guilty beyond reasonable doubt? Fair trial?

Another set of facts from the "bitter" QC:
"Fifteen of them burst into his house where they knew there was a three-year-old child. They terrified the whole family including the child. She hid in a spasm of terror behind a sofa. She will remember that all her life. The Sheridans are not violent people. They are public figures untainted by violence. The violent people were the police. Why did it take fifteen policemen to burst in when the suspects would have gone to a police station if asked?"

Mental torture by the police is ok by you. Is this ok too?

Bunc said...

Sheridan brought all this on himself by a series of terrible miscalculations.

1) He thought that you could be a highly public political figure in this country and not have to be concerned if you were conducting a double life of adultery and swinging.

2) Like other politicians who had been exposed he thought he could front it out and take a defamation case - gambling that there was not sufficient evidence to support the allegations.

2) He thought that he was bigger than his party and that he could demand that the party should risk it's reputation by lying for him and covering up for him.

3) He thought that his oratorical abilities would allow him to pull the wool over everyones eyes by suggesting that he was the victim of some form of class warfare and grand conspiracy.

4) He thought that ordinary working class people would be more concerned about the supposed class warfare issues in the case than they would with whether a politician was a lying perjured adulterer.

5) He bought his own hype about his abilities and sacked his council in the second court case believing he could pull off the same con trick that he did in the defamation case.

Sheridan has dragged countless others into endless court proceedings. He has embroiled his wife and child in the mess and destroyed the political movement that he initially helped to build.

He deserves a jail sentence and this case, as far as I am concerned, was tax payers money well spent.

If the "working class" need a politician to lead their interests then it should be someone with with a less inflated ego and someone who has more acquaintance with truth than Sheridan.

This was no show trial - it was the conviction of someone who clearly perjured themselves. The defamation verdict was a complete and utter farce and that was obvious to many many people. Justice has finally caught up with Sheridan and three cheers for that.

Anonymous said...

"Sheridan threatened the Glasgow power-base of the Labour party"

And where's your evidence for this assertion? The last election he was involved in, he was hanging around with John Smeaton and Big Brother weirdo Mikey.

He was finished as a serious politician. Even the BNP did better in a Glasgow socialist heartland than Sheridan.

Alex Porter said...

@Bunc,
A litany of opinion. None of it PROVES his guilt.

Alex Porter said...

@anonymous,
These allegations divided his party and that was before the last elections when the SSP had a serious vote.

The principle point remains though that the gutter press hounding, the disgraceful decision to investigate and the even more disgraceful conduct of the investigation shows that he Tommy was being used to make an example.

Anyone who does not speak out against the police harassment of Tommy's family yet use this case as justification for venting their dislikes about the guy are letting their nation down.

He has been treated the way public figures are treated in totalitarian states - that shames us all. Overlooking this because you think he was a class traitor is disgraceful!

cynicalHighlander said...

And another one on Iain QC.

ANOTHER VIEW

Anonymous said...

Havers.

Most instances of perjury take place when someone is trying to defend themselves in court against the truth.

Sheridan chose to lie to get himself INTO court.

He lied for personal gain.

He lied to defeat justice.

It is entirely correct for the Crown to prosecute him.

This tawdry little man was offered a deal - admit his guilt and save the taxpayer millions in return for an 18 month sentence and all charges against his wife dropped. He CHOSE to risk his wife going to prison for his lies. And then, in his summing up, he tried to use his young daughter as emotional blackmail with the jury.

Despicable. Utterly despicable.

And of course Gail Sheridan stayed silent under questioning. If she spoke she either perjured herself or incriminated her husband. No wonder the Police tried every trick to get her to start talking.

Jo G said...

I do hope you're not seeking to justify the behaviour of Lothian and Borders Police during that interview with Gail in which she was asked who had "schooled" her in the use of IRA techniques when all she had done was exercise her legal right to remain silent?

The approach taken by that officer was utterly over the top. Does he secretly wish for more excitement in his working life to the extent that he has to pretend that people he is interviewing are potential terrorists?

Alex Porter said...

@anonymous,
spiteful, petty and objectionable.

Jo G said...

"This tawdry little man was offered a deal - admit his guilt and save the taxpayer millions in return for an 18 month sentence and all charges against his wife dropped. He CHOSE to risk his wife going to prison for his lies. And then, in his summing up, he tried to use his young daughter as emotional blackmail with the jury."

The taudry little man you mentioned was supported by a jury in the first trial. Amazing how many of you overlook that minute detail except it isn't minute at all. It begs the question why did the Crown go after the parties which the first jury DIDN'T think had committed perjury???

Oh and one more detail. He wasn't far off winning his case again this time around. Almost half of the jury this time also thought the other side were lying.

Anonymous said...

Alex Porter said...

spiteful, petty and objectionable.

Is that Tommy's new best friends in the Bar-L?