Friday, August 04, 2006

Sheridan wins defamation action against News of the World

"Sheridan Wins" .... the title running tonight in the printing rooms of some newspapers no doubt ... almost reminds me of one of my favourite movies "The Front Page" .. with Walter Mattau and Jack Lemmon on the lenghts some newspapers went to get headlines on a man due to be hanged, who turned out to be innocent .... or does that comparison sit well here I wonder ? perhaps not so much.

Reporting on the win - BBC News, notes the shock of the News of the World team in losing the action - they aren't alone .. Sheridan was widely expected by all the major newspapers in Scotland to lose the case ... I wonder, for instance, how the likes of the Scotsman now feel, after having him all but hung, drawn and quartered in some of their recent articles .. delighting on every scintillating detail of scandal ... probably have to get back to the daily task of most of the Scottish media these days ... writing about stuff like fake stories of rising house prices, prompted by the legal profession to swell their margins and keep everyone in mortgage arrears ...

Personally, I'm surprised that Sheridan has won .. albeit on a 7-4 jury verdict ... but, he did win, and was awarded his 200,000 damages ..., which the newspaper is appealing no doubt.

What does this say about Scotland's legal system ? well .. I don't think so much can be read into it .. it does say that Sheridan was right to sack his legal team .. who almost seemed to be acting against him at times ... but was that more of an arranged tactic than a required move ? we may never know .. but we might, when Campbell Deane, one of the lawyers involved in Sheridan's defence .. reports more on the case in subsequent Scotsman articles ... in the guise of journalism.

One thing it does tell us all about the legal system in Scotland - is that if a person who is able to get their case in front of a jury, is capable enough to argue against the highest paid lawyers in the land - they are successful in either being able to get the jury to cast doubt on the line of the lawyers .. or even believe their story to be a pack of lies .. well .. at least some of the jurors seemed to have taken this line ..

This is what the likes of the Law Society and all those crooked lawyers fear - the likes of me or the rest of us, getting in front of a jury and telling all about how crooked and corrupt the Scottish legal system is - and how the lawyers, the officials at the Law Society, and all their pals and contacts throughout Scotland - right down to those friends in public service they used against us ... ruined our lives, stole our money, property, and went on to get away with it ... that's what the lawyers fear ...

Now at least, Mr Sheridan has had a taste of what thousands of others in Scotland have suffered over the years .. but the question is, will he do something about it ? or is he content to bask in his own win ... I wonder ... certainly, the whole affair leaves the SSP in a precarious position ... or, has that been the intention from the very start ? .. and if so, by which side ? certainly, a version I was given of this case by a friend in the press does cast some doubt on the motives behind some ...

Two articles on this .. I won't bother to quote the Scotsman last night, since Mr Sheridan has already won .. but you can compare yesterday's Scotsman newspaper article at :

Sheridan victory in court battle
Tommy Sheridan has won his defamation case against the News of the World.

A jury of six men and five women took three hours to dismiss the tabloid's claims the Socialist MSP was a serial adulterer and swinger who used drugs.

Mr Sheridan, 42, who represented himself, said the victory was the equivalent of Gretna FC beating Real Madrid on penalties.

The Sunday tabloid was ordered to pay Mr Sheridan £200,000 damages. It says it plans to appeal against the verdict.

Mr Sheridan won his case on a majority verdict of seven to four.

Speaking outside the Court of Session, he delivered an emotional and political speech.

This result suggests that 18 independent witnesses, came to this court and committed monstrous acts of perjury
Bob Bird
News of the World

He said: "We have over the last five weeks taken on one of the biggest organisations on the planet with the biggest amount of resources to pay for the most expensive legal teams to throw nothing but muck against me, my wife and my family.

"Today's verdict proves working class people can differentiate the truth from the muck.

"The working class people on the jury have done a service to the people of Scotland and delivered a message to the standard of journalism the News of the World represents.

"They are liars and they have proved they are liars."

He said he could not have conducted the case without the "loyalty and support" of his family and "thousands of working class people".

'Prayers answered'

He said he was looking forward to spending some quality time with his 14-month-old daughter Gabrielle.

Mr Sheridan compared the win to Gretna FC beating Real Madrid in Spain on penalties.

The verdict was initially met with a stunned silence in the courtroom before relatives of Mr Sheridan wept.

Bob BirdBob Bird, editor in Scotland of the News of the World, was astonished

His wife Gail hugged her husband for almost a minute in the court after the verdict was delivered.

The MSP's mother Alice said afterwards: "Our prayers have been answered."

Speaking outside the court Bob Bird, editor in Scotland of the News of the World, said he was "absolutely astonished" at the outcome.

He added: "This result suggests that 18 independent witnesses, came to this court and committed monstrous acts of perjury.

"We simply cannot accept that is what happened.

"On that basis, we will be lodging an appeal against this verdict.

"And the basis for that appeal is that today's verdict was perverse."

Honesty and integrity

Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) Leader Colin Fox, who gave evidence against his comrade, is due to make a statement.

Witnesses for the News of the World told lurid stories of Mr Sheridan allegedly visiting a Manchester sex club, having sex with a former prostitute and being in a threesome.

SSP colleagues said party minutes showed Mr Sheridan had admitted visiting the sex club.

MSP Caroline Leckie said the case was about a man with a reputation for honesty and integrity being shown to be a hypocrite and liar.

Other party members denied the existence of the minute.

Mr Sheridan broke down as he told the jury he would never betray his wife.

Gail Sheridan said she trusted her husband and had never been so proud of him.


Anonymous said...

The SSP were the target of this case, not Sheridan.
Correct once again, Mr Cherbie.

reader said...

some people in the ssp dont have the intelligence to see who is playing them off against each other.
keep on at this.

tommy butler said...

Hi Peter

Great blog and spot on about the corruption in the scottish legal services. its about time this cartel was broken and about time people ask why so many members of parliment are members of the law society. its a gravy train for the few to milk legal aid money and run cartel in scottish courts.
it seems that lawyers can open any kind of business but no one is allowed to open a legal business and employ lawyers who are qualified under scots law ( its about time this was pursued in european courts