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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
QC defends Sheridan allegations
Tommy Sheridan
Tommy Sheridan must now wait on the jury's verdict
Closing speeches in the Tommy Sheridan defamation case against the News of the World have ended and the jury is due to begin deliberations of Friday.

The trial closed with a six hour speech by Michael Jones QC, for the tabloid.

At the Court of Session, he said the Socialist MSP was a swinger and a serial adulterer who had attempted to destroy the reputations of witnesses.

Mr Sheridan denies the allegations which the News of World insists were "substantially" true.

Mr Jones said public figures would never have been exposed if journalists had not acted in the public interest.

The advocate argued Mr Sheridan was implying 18 witnesses unconnected to the News of the World had stood in the witness box at the Court of Session in Edinburgh and lied under oath.

'Sexual Olympian'

Mr Jones said: "He clearly thinks that he is important enough to warrant these people coming along to undermine him politically."

Mr Jones said the News of the World had put forward interview transcripts which highlighted its methods.

Michael Jones QC
You may think, on the evidence, that Mr Sheridan is denying the undeniable
Michael Jones QC

During evidence, the paper's former Scottish news editor, Douglas Wight, told Fiona McGuire, the woman at the centre of the case, he was not taping her when he was.

Mr Jones said: "If those methods were not used there would have been no revelations and exposures of many people.

"Jeffrey Archer is a very good example.

"It was those methods that led to him being exposed as the liar and hypocrite that he was."

Mr Jones told the jury the allegations made against Mr Sheridan centre around sexual encounters between 2000 and 2004.

Mr Sheridan had said that his political work left him no time for sexual Olympics.

But Mr Jones said: "Someone who claims to be a sexual Olympian on the basis of 25 to 30 days out of 1,460 would be flattering themselves."

'Abuse of power'

He went on to say the jury may not accept Fiona McGuire's account of five-in-a-bed, cocaine-fuelled sex.

He said: "It would make no difference to your verdict if you decided other evidence made him out to be an adulterer and a swinger.

"Fiona McGuire is just a tiny part of this case."

Mr Jones said if the jury believed only sex claims from witnesses Anvar Khan or Katrine Trolle they could still find in favour of the News of the World and against Mr Sheridan.

Katrine Trolle
Katrine Trolle claimed she had group sex with Tommy Sheridan

"He doesn't deserve a reputation for integrity and fidelity," he added.

"If you believe only Katrine Trolle in this case, she proves the truth of the whole issue. She proves the adultery, she proves the visit to Cupids, which is swinging.

"Also she proves the group sex, she proves the hypocrisy. She was a young party worker and proves, if it is necessary, abuse of power."

Earlier Mr Jones had praised sex columnist Anvar Khan, 38, as "gutsy" and Katrine Trolle, 31, as "dignified".

Their evidence described a visit to Cupids swingers club in Manchester with Mr Sheridan.

Both claimed affairs with Mr Sheridan.

Mr Sheridan has claimed Anvar Khan lied to protect her job with the News of the World.

He claims Ms Trolle is part of a political plot against him.

Mr Jones pointed out that Ms Khan had refused to cooperate with the News of the World by giving them a detailed statement of what her evidence would be.

"That doesn't sound like someone who has been party to the mother of all stitch-ups," he said.

"You may think she is a pretty gutsy woman. She wasn't anybody's puppet. She wasn't going to be pushed around by anyone."

'Calm dignity'

Turning to Ms Trolle, Mr Jones said: "She gave her evidence throughout with a calm dignity. There was no hint of animosity towards Tommy Sheridan."

He said the suggestion she would perjure herself for political reasons was "nonsense".

Mr Jones also returned to Gail Sheridan's evidence that her husband was as hairy as a gorilla.

He pointed out that Mr Sheridan did admit to having sex with Anvar Khan, years ago, and she said nothing about his body hair.

The subject was never raised with Katrine Trolle or Fiona McGuire, said Mr Jones who suggested: "You don't ask the question if you know that you will get what is, for you, the wrong answer."

Mr Jones also suggested Mr Sheridan had started his defamation case thinking that Katrine Trolle would keep silent, that Fiona McGuire was "damaged goods" and that he could face down Anvar Khan.

He then discovered he would face ruin if he dropped it.

Mr Jones said: "You may think, on the evidence, that Mr Sheridan is denying the undeniable. You may think, on the evidence, Mr Sheridan is in denial."

He said Katrine Trolle's life had been "scarred" by having to reveal her past, Fiona McGuire had lost her husband and her job and fellow MSP members who admired Mr Sheridan had felt compelled to tell the truth about him.

He said: "These are the people Mr Sheridan is asking you to brand as liars and if you make a verdict in favour of Mr Sheridan you will be branding each and every one of them as perjurers and liars."

The jury will be asked to retire to consider their verdict on Friday.


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