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In the Observer today, Peter Preston seems to be saying that the News of the World lost the Tommy Sheridan case largely because they were an English paper defending a story in a Scottish court. Like a football team facing a hostile crowd away from home, perhaps. He goes on to say..

English newspapers have always feared fighting libel cases in Northern Ireland, where being from London is a handicap, not a help.

Which struck me as a bit odd. Do we really distrust the English that much?

  • Garibaldy

    Was wondering when this would turn up on here. The whole thing has been hilarious from start to finish. I have to say that I admire Sheridan’s decision to go for broke, and am pleased he won.

    As for Aaron’s question, I’d say the answer is definitely yes, most people here would welcome the chance to give an English paper a kicking, particularly if the wronged party was a popular local figure who wasn’t a politician.

  • Keith M

    The whole case was a fiasco, and if you are to believe the jury the worst case of multiple perjury ever. I have no time for the NOTW of the gutter press, but it does appear that a serious miscarriage of justice has been done and I wish them luck with the appeal. The whole thing bring back memories of the Archer affair and we all know how that turned out in the end.

  • willowfield

    Don’t think it’s anything to do with the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World being “English”.

    There is a hypocrisy about the gutter press: people profess to hate it, yet still buy it. Nothing to do with it supposedly being “English”.

  • Laughing prole

    Outstanding verdict!
    Well done Tommy and Gail.

  • Garibaldy

    Keith,

    There were serious attacks on the credibility of the female witnesses (different versions and numbers of the same events), and as for infighting between Trots, I wouldn’t put doing up some dodgy minutes beyond the vast majority of such people. Happens all the time.

  • willis

    Why should anyone who has been paid for their story be believed?

    When was the last big libel trial over here? What about Bob’s buns?

  • Aaron

    I think you might be surprised to find out the details of the last big libel trial in Belfast..

  • martin

    well lets just reverse peter prestons argument ,if mr sheridan,s case had been before an english court ,not only would he have been found guilty but he probably would have been sentenced to life in prison, the dummy tits are great ones for law and order, ask the biringham six etc

  • Garibaldy

    Martin,

    Surely Scottish people are Brits too?

  • I think Aaron has it partly right. The London press is trusted less in other parts of the UK than in England, and none more so than the News of the Screws – which begs the queston as to why people buy it. I don’t know.

    We must also assume, since it is, pending any appeal, the legally accepted version of events, that Mr Sheridan’s vices do no extend beyond manic tea-drinking and playing Scrabble.

    Newspapers should not be able to defame people willy nilly and those that do should pay up and look happy. After all, they’ve had tons of publicity – as has Mr Sheridan.

  • Jo

    keith

    “A serious miscarriage?” Wishing the NOTW luck? Are you for real? I know you mightn’t have time for Tommy’s politics but those remarks really take a packet of Hob Nobs!

  • Keith M

    Jo, this has nothing to do with politics. If you read the reports of the case then the result is a complete shock. The only way it could be right is if something like 20 people were lying under oath. I don’t believe that and I think the NOTW are right to appeal.

  • Aaron_Scullion

    do you think we could refrain from commentry on the rights and wrongs of the verdict, please?

  • Jo

    I daresay if would have been a “shock” if the Birmingham Six had been found not guilty back in 1975 as well. Tommy was victimised, lied about and the witnesses were paid by the NOTW to discredit him. How many were in the bed with him again?

    They will have to prove that a jury was now perverse. An English gutter tabloid trying to prove a Scottish jury of ordinary Jock Soaps “perverse.” Hardly the side of the angels, Keith. 🙂

  • Garibaldy

    Keith,

    There’s been much worse cases of perjury than this. e.g. Bloody Sunday, My Lai etc etc

  • Keith M

    aaron “do you think we could refrain from commentry on the rights and wrongs of the verdict, please?”

    What’s the point of the thread if it’s not to discuss the trial in its totality? The verdict has been the source of much debate on the net and elsewhere, simply because it is so bizarre and potentially a miscarriage of justice.

    In the end I think the NOTW would win but I wonder if they consider a figure of £200k worth fighting over (legal fees for an appeal are likely to be significantly higher than that). They are not a newspaper for whom credability is a major issue.

    However for the sake of justice in its broader sense it is important that people like Sheridan (just like Archer before him) are finally unmasked.

  • Jo

    The presumption is that there is something to be “unmasked” Keith. There is not. Your repeated reference to Archer is a complete red herring as that man had four decades experience of lying before it finally caught up with him. If obnoxiousness was a criminal matter he should have been tried for that as well. 🙂

  • Aaron_Scullion

    Keith – the point was to discuss whether or not people trusted the English press. There’s a danger of going down a very libellous road otherwise. And Tommy has a good record in libel cases 🙂

  • Keith M

    Aaron “And Tommy has a good record in libel cases :)”

    It looks like he’s going to get plenty of practise, not only are the NOTW appealing but his own party seemed to be making belicose noises; http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1141902006

  • Jo

    …f*ckin splitters! 🙂

  • Rory

    It is not unsurprising that Tommy Sheridan became a victim of a smear campaign in the gutter press. After all he was heroic in raising up the ordinary folk of Scotland to fight the utter viciousness of the campaign waged against them during the attempted implementation of the Poll Tax. He went to prison for his efforts – but he inspired the people to break Toryism forever in Scotland and the Masters of the Universe needed to get back at him for that.

    When we think of Tory perjurers like ‘Born-Again’ Aitken, who sent his own teenage daughter into the stand to perjure herself on his behalf, or Archer and his ‘fragrant wife’, Mary, who testified to the pimple free nature of the noble Lord’s back, and compare them to Tommy Sheridan who struck like Van Helsing into the dark heart of vampiric Toryism with the simple stake of his own openness and honesty, tempered in the fire of struggle, we are glad and say “Tommy, abu!”

  • Garibaldy

    Should anyone be interested, the people who testified against Sheridan have put up both the minutes that were in disupte and a 12 page justification of their conduct on the SSP website.

  • Jo

    ..begs the question why they didnt produce these during the court case?

  • Garibaldy

    Jo,

    They did produce these minutes during the court case, but only after one went to gaol for withholiding them. Sheridan, and a few others, convinced the jury that these minutes were faked in an attempt to marginalise him as part of factional disputes. This is why the SSP is liable to fall totally apart in the next few months. Which was inevitable anyway given the way it is organised.

  • Jo

    Theres an episode of Yes Minister about minutes of a meeting as well. Fact echoing fiction?Minutes of themselves mean nothing. I still think he emerges with credit.

  • Garibaldy

    Jo,

    Indeed. As I pointed out above, wouldn’t be the first time minutes were forged as part of a political dispute.