Party 'wary minutes would incriminate Tommy Sheridan'

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The Independent Online

Scottish Socialist Party members did not want to hand minutes of a meeting where Tommy Sheridan admitted twice visiting a swingers' club to court officials because it would have "dropped Tommy in it", a jury heard today.

Barbara Scott, who took the minutes at the November 9, 2004 meeting, said a citation asking for the documents was sent to the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) headquarters ahead of Mr Sheridan's civil defamation action.

He won £200,000 in damages after the News of the World printed allegations about his private life.

The ex-MSP and his wife Gail, both 46, are accused of lying under oath during Mr Sheridan's successful 2006 defamation action against the newspaper. They deny the allegations.

On the second day of the perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow, Ms Scott told the court the SSP was reluctant to hand over minutes of the meeting at which, the court had earlier heard, Mr Sheridan had admitted twice visiting a swingers' club in Manchester.

She said: "The party didn't want to hand them over because they would have dropped Tommy in it."

She had not seen the minutes since late November 2004 when she had handed them in to the party.

However she said there had been talk of changing minutes and she decided she wanted to get them back.

They were returned to her after she asked for them.

Ms Scott, 40, told the court: "I just thought I want to have them. I want to decide what I do with them because there was already talk in the party about whether or not to destroy minutes or change them."

The court heard she was a witness in the earlier civil case and was cross-examined by Mr Sheridan.

She said: "He said I had fabricated the whole minutes after the fact as part of a conspiracy against him."

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC asked what she thought of the theory.

She replied: "It's laughable and not true."

Dressed in a putty-coloured trouser suit and ruffled cream blouse, Mrs Sheridan sat close to her husband in the dock today.

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

Mr 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.

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

Mrs 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.