The judicial system in the UK is adversarial, the libel Courts are especially so, the case for and against is put before the Judge and Jury and it is for a jury made up of our peers to decide. If anyone honestly believes that the truth and nothing but the truth is all that is spoken with in a British Court then they must be living in la la land. When Tommy Sheridan sued the News of the World for libeling him, Rupert Murdoch hired the best Lawyers and QC’s in the land, who in turn hired private detectives to make mince meat of Sheridan’s claims.
Murdoch had his day in court and failed to convince the Scottish jury, despite due to his great wealth having had every opportunity to knock Tommy Sheridan’s hat off. Such is life and the honorable thing for all to have done was move on. Dissatisfied with the result Murdoch as is his right, decided to appeal the juries decision, as is the way with his ilk, he believed he would get a more sympathetic hearing from the judicial elite.
It now seems some were far to impatient to await the outcome of the appeal, so the Scottish Constabulary were conscripted to do what Murdoch’s lawyers were unable to achieve when they had their day in court. Information released by the Lothian and Borders Police, to the veteran Scottish socialist Hugh Keer under the freedom of information act, shows that police force has spent over one million pounds investigating whether Mr Sheridan and others who gave evidence in the court case committed perjury.
Approximately forty-thousand police/support-staff hours have been spent so far investigating this case, police who had been working on other more serious crimes were drafted in to work on this inquiry. If you consider that in some areas of the UK, if your home is burgled you are unlikely to be visited by a police officer, one gets an idea of the priority the Chief Constable of the Lothian and Borders Police gave to this enquiry. It is difficult not so conclude that Tommy Sheridan and his wife and comrades have been singled out for special treatment by elements within the UK State, whether they be police, politicians or members of the judiciary.
That a number of people who testified for Mr Sheridan in the original court case against the News of the World have also been arrested, including Mrs Sheridan, makes me feel that this was done to bring pressure to bear so that these individuals reconsider whether to give evidence in the appeal. That this appeal has been put back to await the outcome of the Lothian and Borders Police enquiry confirms me in this suspicion.
For if those arrested are successfully prosecuted, which I do not believe will happen, Murdoch would almost certainly win his appeal with a nod from the top Beak and that cannot be right, for as one of the UK’s top Barristers, Ian Hamilton, QC said,
“Tommy Sheridan has been vindicated by a jury of his peers. A jury heard the evidence and awarded him damages. It is no part of the duty of our police to prove the jury wrong and a newspaper right.”
Finally I would just add this, whilst I recognize and applaud Tommy Sheridan’s contribution to the struggle for a more equitable society within Scotland, I feel he made a major political error when he encouraged his supporters to leave the Scottish Socialist Party, but when it comes to supporting Sheridan or Rupert Murdock (and a pliable Scottish criminal justice system) it is a no brainer. My support goes to Tommy all the way, I will argue through our political differences when these charges are dismissed.