It’s been a while since I blogged on Tommy Sheridan’s perjury trial. However it occurred to me that one of the consequences of representing himself was that it brought him face to face with his accusers. This obviously paid dividends during the defamation hearing (or perhaps it was being face to face with the jury which assisted)?
In any event, in reading the BBC coverage, I note that it has – in effect – turned each hostile witness (and there are a few of them) into a mini-prosecutor. Consider some of the statements which have been put, directly to Mr. Sheridan while cross-examining witnesses:
Bob Bird – “it proved that you had stood in court and lied … you duped them [the jury]”
George McNeilage – “You’re the real fraud.”
Alan McCombes – “You are a liar, Tommy. A pathological liar.”
Frances Curran – “Tommy, I would have expected more honesty and principle from you.”
Richard Venton – “I know this court is near a fish market, but some of the red herrings you’re throwing about are overpowering.”
Carolyn Leckie – “It absolutely frightened me how well you could lie, Tommy.”
Allison Kane – “[you] spun a web of lies off the bat”
Katrine Trolle – “There is only one person lying in court and it is you”
Colin Fox – “I do not lie, Mr Sheridan. I leave the lying up to you.”
Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t get that repeated direct accusation of the accused – with the jury seeing and evaluating Sheridan’s response each time. Is he riled? Does he twinge? Smile? Shake his head? Is he unmoved? Inevitably, the jury will be picking up on all of this (even if it is unconsciously).
Was it a good idea to represent himself, then? Time will tell. However, it seems that Mr. Sheridan’s line includes a suggestion that there was a plot to “do him in” politically. And with all this hostility from the witnesses, maybe he is starting to look like the underdog again?
It put me in mind of an episode of The West Wing, where CJ is trying to spin an investigation against them and decides on the following strategy for winning back public opinion:
“Leo, we need to be investigated by someone who wants to kill us just to watch us die. We need someone perceived by the American people to be irresponsible, untrustworthy, partisan, ambitious and thirsty for the limelight. Am I crazy or is this not a job for the U.S. House of Representatives?”
I loved The West Wing. Here’s just one reason why.