Witness: Sheridan spoke twice of sex club visits

A witness told a court today that she heard former Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan admit he visited a sex club on two occasions.

Sheridan and his wife Gail, both 46, are on trial at the High Court in Glasgow accused of perjury.

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

Responding to questions from Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, Ms Harvie, 33, said she was “very, very upset” after Sheridan allegedly admitted he was the unnamed MSP in a newspaper story who had visited swingers’

She told the court: “The first main speaker was Tommy. He explained the unnamed MSP was him. He said he attended a sex club on two separate occasions.

“He said he was sorry for it. He said he did not know what it was that made him do it.”

She had no doubt that was what she heard during the meeting, she said, adding: “I was definitely paying attention,” she said.

Prentice: “Could you have misheard in any way?”

Harvie: “No.”

The trial was adjourned on Monday until today after Sheridan dismissed his counsel, Maggie Scott QC, and junior counsel, and began his own defence today.

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

Harvie said she was called to give evidence at the libel trial in the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2006, and told the truth in the evidence she gave.

“I told the court more or less what I told you already today,” she told Prentice.

Asked what she thought about the News of the World, she said: “I don’t read it. It’s not a newspaper I have any particular interest in reading.”

Cross-examined by Sheridan, who was standing in the dock, Harvie said she had not discussed her evidence with anyone since the perjury trial began, although she had spoken about the meetings in the past.

When questioned by Sheridan, she said: “I have discussed these meetings that took place with other people.”

Harvie said she had attended “one or two meetings” of a group called the “United Left”, which Sheridan described as a “faction” within the SSP.

Asked by Sheridan if she was a member of the group, Harvie said: “No, I was not.”

During questioning by Sheridan about the SSP meeting on November 9 2004, Harvie said: “It was one of the most devastating meetings I have attended and the events are fairly set in my memory, Tommy.”

The seven-page indictment against the Sheridans contains three charges in total, two of which are broken down into a number of sub-sections.

Sheridan denies lying to the courts during his case, which followed the newspaper’s claims that he was an adulterer who had visited a swingers’

club.

It is alleged he made false statements as a witness in the defamation action on July 21 2006.

One of the charges alleges that he had sexual relationships with Katrine Trolle between January 2000 and December 2005 and with Anvar Khan between January 1994 and September 2002, though during the defamation action he said he did not.

He also denies another charge of attempting to persuade a witness, Colin Fox, to commit perjury shortly before the 23-day legal action got under way.

Gail Sheridan denies making false statements on July 31 2006, after being sworn in as a witness in the civil jury trial at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

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