There may still be 80 days until Christmas, but it’s pantomime season already as the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial kicked off on Monday 4 October.
The Herald reported that the trial is likely to take at least two or three months – which is fine, because Lord Bracadale has nothing better to be doing with his time – and that the Legal Aid bill alone is likely to be in the region of half a million pounds! Not to mention the costs of the prosecution and the court time and personnel to run this circus. All of which is, I’m sure you’ll agree, a hugely sensible use of public money.
Given that the average Civil Legal Aid bill comes in at around £2,500, the Sheridan trial will cost the equivalent of 200 actual cases with meaningful outcomes that affect people’s lives.
Given that the perjury trial is, on one view, just the first stage in News International’s civil appeal against Mr. Sheridan’s defamation win, wouldn’t it be cheaper just to get the Scottish Legal Aid Board to pay the £200,000 damages directly to Tommy, and get him to appear in this year’s production of Snow White as a new eighth dwarf: “hairy”?