Sheridan’s snare snaps on Coulson – comment superfluous!

30 May

Andy Coulson

Tommy Sheridan

“Officers acting for Strathclyde police Operation Rubicon detained a 44-year-old man in London this morning under section 14 of the Criminal Procedure Scotland Act on suspicion of committing perjury at the high court in Glasgow. It would be inappropriate to comment further in this case.”


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6 responses to “Sheridan’s snare snaps on Coulson – comment superfluous!

  1. David Ellis

    June 1, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Do snares snap? Not sure. But what a cunning plan by Sheridan: spend a year in nick and a couple on parole for perjury, destroy the Scottish Socialist Party, forgo the £100,000 payouts all the other vicitims of hacking, if indeed he was hacked, have received from the Murdoch empire and make your self the laughing stock of Scotland and in the end you’ll get an irrelevant and disposable little bagman of the ruling class arrested. We need more victories like this… not. Sheridan ought to be careful too or he might end up having his parole license revoked. Presumably he was given parole for showing some contrition. And of course nothing Coulson said in Sheridan’s trial had anything to do with him being found guilty. That was all his own work from beginning to end: genius. If he wants to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the Scottish left and working class then he needs to put this behind him not start another round of vacuous bragging and self-promotion by apologising humbly for his destructive course of action and for letting his ego destroy a political initiative that had potential. I wonder where his political evolution will take him next? As for Coulson let us hope he finds his way to a stretch.

  2. redscribe

    June 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    There is a very good comment by ‘Peter’ (not sure who this is, though I have some suspicions) on Socialist Unity which addresses why this is extremely important to the question of Sheridan’s conviction (i.e guilt or innocence)…

    I reproduce this below. However, right from the very start I have believed that Sheridan was the victim of a well-funded frame-up at the hands of Rupert Murdoch. At the time of Coulson’s testimony he was no minor figure, but the PR man at the newly elected Prime Minister’s right hand. Sheridan knew he was being framed, and in that context it was a masterstroke to put Coulson, with his position in Downing Street, on the stand where he had no choice but to commit perjury on matters that even then were beginning to unravel. I think it is actually going to be quite difficult for the ruling class to sustain Sheridan’s conviction in the future. And in my view, the destruction of the SSP was an important ruling class project, the truth of which is still to come out, and may cost them dearly in political terms even now.

    (from ‘Peter’)
    “I will put it this way for you:

    If the (allegedly false) statements of Coulson uttered in the witness box under oath were not relevant to the Sheridan case then Coulson should not be charged with perjury.

    If the statements were material, were relevant and were false then he will/should be charged with perjury and should have a fr trial.

    The logic of your position, however, is that you feel that he should be charged even though what he said had no bearing on the Sheridan case.

    That is too harsh – even for me!

    I am more generous.

    I say Coulson should only be charged with perjury if he said things that were false and those false statements were relevant ie. the statements may possibly have had an effect on jury members to convict.

    As a defence witness or a prosecution witness he should not lie and runs a risk if he did. If he lies about important things then it is more serious.

    If he did lie about immense illegality and corruption of the NOTW;

    if he did lie about corruption of the police;

    and if he did lie about his own illegality;

    then there must be a risk that the jury was likely to become more inclined that Sheridan was making up the illegality of the NOTW and corrupt state officials to secure an acquittal.

    If he had told the truth the jury would have recognised the truth of what Sheridan was alleging.

    His perjury denied the jury the opportunity to hear that truth.

    What happened at trial was that the jury only heard Sheridan’s claim that the illegality was widespread and all encompassing. If Coulson had told the truth (as the defence sees it) then the jury would have had proof of the widespread illegality from the horse’s mouth.

    If that “truth” had been told by Coulson then the prosecution claim that Sheridan was a conspiracy theorist, fantasist and desperate man to who was raising claims of illegality to secure an acquittal would have fallen away.

    So that is why the point can support an appeal.

    Of course this appeal point will fall away if here is no such corruption and other illegality at the NOTW.

    What do you reckon?

    Do you consider there was such illegality or not?

    Do you think the NOTW executives should have admitted it if it did exist rather than deny it?

    They did not do so at the trial when they were questioned by Tommy. Should they have done? Of course they should say the defence because it was relevant to both the prosecution being brought by the state and the defence claimed by Sheridan.

    That they did not is therefore an appeal point for Sheridan and a grounds of prosecution for perjury.”

  3. David Ellis

    June 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    That is a statement of opinion but it has no basis in reality or law. Lying under oath is perjury whether it had any ultimate relevance to the case or not. The questions should have been ruled out by the judge if he thought they would be irrelevant but he didn’t as he thought truthful answers to them might be relevant. It was only subsequently that they actually turned out to be irrelevant as Sheridan was convicted on other irrefutable evidence that he lied under oath in the original libel case. The NOTW, the police and state officials were not on trial. Sheridan was. Peter seems to be saying that Coulson should not be charged because there is no way that anybody is going to say that Coulson’s perjury had any relevance to Sheridan’s conviction. I think he should be charged as perjury is perjury is perjury.

  4. redscribe

    June 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

    ‘Peter’ is not saying that Coulson should not be charged. He is hypothetically exploring the idea being put about by Sheridan’s SSP opponents that Coulson’s testimony (or perjury) was irrelevant to the case, only to show that it was not irrelevant. Sheridan was convicted by a split jury, 8-6, thus it cannot be said that the evidence was ‘irrefutable’. Six of the fourteen jurors were not convinced by it. A jury divided on a similar percentage basis in England and Wales would result in a mis-trial, as with 12 jurors a 10-2 majority is necessary to convict. In the context of the Sheridan trial, producing ‘reasonable’ doubt in the mind of only one additional juror would have resulted in a tied jury (mis-trial), two would have resulted in an acquittal or ‘not proven’ verdict.

    Given the sensation that would have resulted from the newly elected Prime Minister’s press officer admitting to rampant criminality in open court, it is highly probable that such a truth would produce ‘reasonable doubt’ in the mind of any juror who listened to such a statement. Given the crucial role of the News of the World in driving this whole case, the number of prosecution witnesses who either worked for it or had been paid either in cash or kind by it. Indeed, a juror would have to be pretty biased not to experience ‘reasonable doubt’ if exposed to such evidence from someone of such authority.

    I think on these grounds in practice Sheridan’s conviction will prove unsustainable as a result of this, because Coulson is not an isolated individual, but a key figure driving this case at the time the events that the case is about were alleged to have happened. The Scottish News of the World was a subsidiary of the UK operation, and Coulson was in charge of that. A retrial would be very interesting, though how this fits in with other likely prosecutions of Coulson for phone-hacking, police bribery, etc is anyone’s guess. And Sheridan has already served the bulk of his sentence. I don’t see how this can stand.

  5. Hi

    June 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    It will stand because Sheridan perjured himself. Peter’s scenario will end with the double whammy of Sheridan’s conviction standing and Coulson getting away scott free because his lies were not relevant. Personally I’d rather not see the latter and the former I’m indifferent about as the man had a disastrous impact on the Scottish left.

  6. redscribe

    June 11, 2012 at 8:36 am

    No concrete analysis in the above comment, just blind faith. The fact is that 42% of the jury in percentage terms voted to acquit Sheridan even without the benefit of knowing about Coulson’s (alleged) perjury.

    The organisation that more than anything else drove this frame-up has since been exposed as in effect an organised crime syndicate, with Coulson as (allegedly) one of the key players, facing jail for bribery of the police, involvement in illegal eavesdropping and hacking and also blackmail of politicians over their personal lives.

    An organised crime syndicate that several important prosecution witnesses were employed by, and others were paid by.

    I don’t see how even the most myopic can argue that these issues were ‘not relevant’ to the issues that the jury considered in Sheridan’s trial, and would not have swayed at least one (!!!) juror in his favour.

    But then no-one can accuse many on the left of not being myopic.


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