Sheridan trial witness 'not part of anti-Tommy plot'

A witness told a perjury trial on Friday that she was not part of a plot or “cabal” out to get former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

Sheridan, who is representing himself in the case and cross-examining witnesses from the dock at the High Court in Glasgow, is accused of perjury along with his wife Gail.

On Thursday Joanna Harvie, who joined the Scottish Socialist Party when it was formed, told the court that the politician told an emergency meeting of the group’s executive committee on November 9, 2004, that he had visited a sex club.

Sheridan and his wife, both 46, from Glasgow, are accused of lying under oath during the 2006 defamation action against the News of the World in which he won £200,000 in damages over allegations about his private life. They deny the allegations against them.

Sheridan last week continued cross-examining Harvie, 33, who told him: “I was never involved in any faction, in any plot that was out to get you.”

Sheridan asked her: “You were always part of the plot to politically do me in?”

Harvie replied: “No, I was not.”

She was not part of the “secret cabal” which became the United Left and the “anti-Tommy” faction, she told the court.

She had heard Sheridan admit to a meeting that he had visited a sex club twice, she said, adding that she had not lied when she gave evidence at the defamation trial in 2006 and was not lying now.

Asked by Sheridan if she remembered anything else being discussed during the meeting on November 9 2004, Harvie said: “I do remember a gun being mentioned and having absolutely no idea what was being spoken about.”

She said there was a “very confusing exchange” at the meeting between a man she called Keith Baldassara and Sheridan when the gun was mentioned.

Asked if she remembered any mention of a “Glasgow hotel orgy”, she said: “I can’t remember specific talk of that.”

The minutes from the 9 November meeting of the executive committee were ratified at a meeting of the committee on 24 November.

She also said that a “strategy” suggesting the minutes of the 9 November meeting should not be given to the court for Sheridan’s 2006 defamation case was put forward at a SSP national council meeting in May 2006.

She said of the national council meeting on 28 May at which the motion was put forward: “That was a horrendous meeting. It was an absolute cauldron. There was shouting and screaming and stamping of feet.

“In the end there was a vote and the vote did not go in favour of that strategy.”

She said the strategy was about keeping the party “separate” from Sheridan’s defamation court case in 2006.

Harvie, who also told the court she was the editor of a publication called The Voice, said it had not been a “tool” of any faction.

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