Friday, August 04, 2006

Tommy Sheridan Victory at Trial

Tommy Sheridan has sensationally won his defamation action against the News of the World.The jury took 150 minutes to reach their verdict. Sheridan collects £200,000 for his trouble.

After Gail Sheridan's testimony a few days ago, I thought the case had swung in Tommy Sheridan's favour, especially after his summing up, which was emotional, humorous (he offered to strip off in court in case the jury wanted to check his body hair, after Gail had said he was "a monkey," a fact none of the women he had allegedly slept with had mentioned), and passionate.

But yesterday, the News of the World QC seemed to press all the buttons. Had 18 witnesses lied? Had they put their careers on the line to perjure under oath? Could a jury really believe that? Then he referred to Tommy Sheridan's "monster ego". This was a killer point, as the man obviously has a huge ego. No one starts a very left-leaning political party, becomes a public celebrity, and actually succeeds in winning 6 seats in the Scottish Parliament without having a huge ego. Sheridan's ego has always been his strength and his Achilles' heel, that feeling that whenever he spoke up for the poor and downtrodden, he had half an eye on how he was looking through the camera lens.

I thought that swung the case back in the balance. I had no idea what the decision was going to be. In a way I'm glad that Tommy Sheridan has won. It's a kick in the teeth for the tabloid newspapers and that's no bad thing.

I noticed this morning's Daily Record reported that a leading Scottish writer is already writing a theatre script based on the trial and is going to offer the lead role to Tommy Sheridan himself! Sometimes real life feels too weird for words, even for words on a blog...

Until the play opens, we can look forward to the perjury trial of those under suspicion of telling bare-faced lies in court. That will be very, very interesting.


Sorlil said...

Rhetoric wins the day, Cicero would have been proud.

Rob Mackenzie said...

Rhetoric, yes. And the working class of course. Don't forget the working class.

When Tommy left the court, he made a speech, saying:

"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."

Only Tommy Sheridan could transform a decision of a jury (presumably from varied walks of life) in a defamation action into a revolutionary gesture of victory for the working classes.

You've got to hand it to him.

Harry said...

Yes, I noticed that. If I'd been on the jury, and I'd spent quitea lot of time and energy on working hard to get the right decision and be fair to him, it would annoy the fuck out of me to have my effort hijacked like that. He could at least have said 'ordinary people' or something.

But then my working assumption is that anyone who starts their own political party is an untrustworthy egomaniac. Iain Paisley, George Galloway, James Goldsmith, Robert Kilroy Silk - what a bunch of charmers.

Rob Mackenzie said...

It makes me wonder whether the "working class" thing was just the euphoria of the moment, or whether he'd actually prepared that beforehand. It's hard to know.

Tommy Sheridan's ego has always been a significant factor and by now will have swelled to record proportions. Spare a thought for us in Scotland. We are unlikely to hear the end of this for years.

It's still better than the News of the World winning, I think. Although I see the paper's lawyer is threatening to appeal, on the grounds that the jury's decision was "perverse". Whether that's a sufficient legal ground, I'm unsure.