A journalist who told a court she visited a swingers’ club with Tommy Sheridan was last week accused of being a “hostile” witness determined to inflict damage and hurt with her “lies”.
Former News of the World columnist Anvar Khan faced claims she had lied constantly during her two days of evidence at the High Court in Glasgow.
The claims came from former Scottish Socialist Party MSP Sheridan, who is accused of committing perjury during his successful defamation action against the Sunday newspaper in 2006.
Sheridan, who is conducting his own defence, put it to the witness: “Isn’t it the case, Ms Khan, that to you and your News of the World friends, the truth is just a nuisance that sometimes gets in the way of a good story?”
The claims were denied by the witness. Khan also faced further defence suggestions that she was like a “fish on a hook”, “wriggling” every time someone tries to get a straight answer.
Sheridan denies lying to the courts during the civil action more than four years ago which followed the newspaper’s claims that he was an adulterer who visited swingers’ clubs. He won £200,000 in damages after the newspapers printed the allegations.
Khan previously told the perjury trial she visited Cupid’s swingers’ club in Manchester with Sheridan, his brother-in-law Andrew McFarlane, Gary Clark and Katrine Trolle in September 2002.
The witness told the trial the encounter was one of several sexual experiences she had with Sheridan and said she “believed” he had been married when some of the liaisons took place.
They included having sex beneath a Che Guevara picture in Sheridan’s bedroom, the court heard.
Sheridan cross-questioned Khan for much of the hearing on Friday, in which he accused her of giving “untrue” evidence.
“The fact is you have constantly lied in this witness box over the last two days, despite being given the opportunity to tell the truth,” said Sheridan.
“Worse than that, Ms Khan, you are a hostile witness who’s determined to inflict damage and hurt with your lies.
“You think you are above prosecution, don’t you, because of your association with the News of the World? You think you’ve got immunity from prosecution?”
He went on: “Isn’t it the case, Ms Khan, that to you and your News of the World friends, the truth is just a nuisance that sometimes gets in the way of a good story?”
Khan repeatedly denied the allegations, answering “No” after each sentence.
The statements from Sheridan followed the suggestion by him – denied by Khan – that she had used the issue of whether she would “cooperate” with the News of the World over the 2006 libel trial to help her own contract negotiations with the paper.
Sheridan pointed to an email said to have been sent by Khan to the newspaper’s editor weeks before the defamation action got under way.
The email said: “I am prepared to rethink my position, but then again, I’ve had nothing in writing from you regarding a new contract.”
Khan told the court she could not recall what was being referred to.
Sheridan put it to the witness: “You were rethinking whether you would cooperate with them before the libel case, weren’t you?
“You wanted a new contract before you would give evidence, didn’t you?
“You wanted to benefit financially before you would give evidence in the libel trial.”
Khan rejected each suggestion in turn by answering “No” after every sentence.
The witness also faced cross-questioning from Paul McBride QC, representing Sheridan’s wife.
Gail Sheridan is also on trial at the High Court in Glasgow, where she denies lying under oath during the 2006 legal action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
McBride put it to Ms Khan that she had, over the years, given officials four different versions of the date on which she alleges the Cupid’s visit took place.
“We can’t believe a word that comes out of your mouth, Ms Khan, can we?” said Mr McBride.
She replied: “You most definitely can.”
McBride concluded: “The truth of the matter, and the whole truth of the matter, was for the last two days you have been like a fish on a hook and you have been wriggling every time someone tries to pull you in to get a straight answer.”
The court heard earlier that Khan won a £16,000 settlement after bringing a legal action against the News of the World.
The journalist said she “took out litigation” against the newspaper after her contract was not renewed in 2008.
“It was settled in my favour,” she told the court.
“I have to say clearly to the court that News International and I are not friends.”
Sheridan and wife Gail, both 46 and from Glasgow, deny the charges.
The trial, before Lord Bracadale, continues this week.