Aamer Anwar blasts “Armchair Legal Experts”

At a public meeting in Glasgow last night Tommy Sheridan’s solicitor Aamer Anwar took issue with  “Armchair legal experts” who have been arguing that the current News International phone hacking scandal would have no impact on on his client’s appeal.

Mr Anwar informed the audience that it was his and Tom Watson MP’s complaint to the information commissioner about emails supposedly “lost” by News International that led to the discovery of the data at the company’s Wapping HQ. The data found he claimed had been responsible for setting off the “avalanche” of revelations now dominating the media.  He also stated that while the News International employees who testified in court that the data had been lost in Mumbai India were “entitled to the presumption of innocence” if they had knowingly lied they should be charged with perjury. Mr Anwar reminded the meeting that allegations of perjury against Mr Sheridan had led to an inquiry costing over two million pounds and taking up 52,000 hours of police time, and demanded a similar “transparent and robust investigation” into the testimony given at the Sheridan trial by Bob Bird.

Mr Anwar then turned to recent commentary that the News of the World scandal had no bearing on the Tommy Sheridan trial stating  “How do you know  unless you  had seen the emails?  how do you know the News of the World did not bribe witnesses? how do you know they did not hack their phones?”  further describing this as a “desperate attempt to downplay Tommy Sheridan’s appeal.”

Mr Anwar also revealed that just after the conclusion of the trial, on Christmas eve,  his laptop had gone missing from his office  The lawyer asked the audience to consider that no money or other items were stolen and asked who could have been  interested in the contents of a laptop containing all of his files relating to Tommy Sheridan? The computer has never been recovered.

Mr Anwar concluded by criticising  much of the media coverage of the perjury trial of Tommy Sheridan, saying that the decline of court reporting had led to the public only receiving a partial and one sided view of high profile cases that highlighted prosecution evidence but generally ignored the defence case.  He also pointed to the fact that “every political party in Scotland had been silent” on the growing News International scandal, a silence he attributed to the continuing “power of News International in Scotland.”  He called on Strathclyde police to “cross-reference” their investigation into phone hacking in Scotland with the Metropolitan police in London and for the Glasgow based force to urgently contact those in Scotland whose voicemail  may have been intercepted.




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5 responses to “Aamer Anwar blasts “Armchair Legal Experts”

  1. Jamesie Cotter Esq. Govan Straw Clutchers Collective

    Easy on the rhetorical targets, Aamer.
    Some off us don’t own an armchair!
    When the applause has died down and you’re sat back in your executive position, I, for one, wish you the best of luck, after your last selection, finding a new Silk for the Appeal.
    Preferably one who won’t be sacked by Tommy when proceedings get underway after clocking up preparation time all over again.

  2. Confused

    James Doleman
    Perhaps you help could clear up a problem for me ?. While reading an article on the BBC web site which stated the following…. “Private detectives are said to bribe staff at banks or hospitals, or impersonate the individual – what is alleged to have happened to Mr Brown – to get hold of confidential information.”….

    Do you know how the “impersonate” of Brown was done ?, is it known at this time how it was it done, was it by a voice “impersonate” ?, if it was did/could they have done this to anyone else ?. If it was that would mean that NI was practising deception by using such!. Hope you can clear this up for me ?.

  3. Istanbul1

    I appreciate that Aamer was speaking at a public meeting where rhetoric and exaggeration are often par for the course. But given the sensitive nature of the subject and the possibility for it to be reported, I was very disappointed by his contribution.
    First of all, isn’t it going too far for Aamer to claim responsibility for starting off the process that has engulfed the News of the World etc? What about the growing number of public figures in the last two yeas who demanded and gained disclosure in order to back up their legal cases against the NOW? Or the tireless work of the Guardian… Surely these were of greater significance that Aamer’s role?
    Another disapointment was his comments on the emails. All he did was repeat questions that have arisen elsewhere or could have been raised by any of the “armchair legal experts” he was mocking. Surely someone who has seen these emails, or at least a substantial portion of them, would have been able to actually pose less obvious questions and even more useful make extra accusations? Either way, when the rhetoric is discarded, what of substance was there in Aamer’s contribution and how is it so superior to the “armchair legal experts”?
    Also, if Aamer is so sure that the emails provide a basis for an appeal for Tommy Sheridan why did Gail’s QC, who has seen the same evidence as Aamer, conclude so firmly on last Sunday’s Politics Show that the latest developments in News International provide no ground for such an appeal.
    I’m sorry, but unless Aamer provides something new then we can only conclude that he himself is speculating along with everyone else.
    On a final note, Aamer talks about the unbalanced reporting of the perjury trial. Naturally, he would tend to remember more the critical coverage of his client but any objective observer would have had to remark on the large amount of sympathetic coverage of Tommy and Gail, during and after the trial. Naturally, once Sheridan lost the case the balance of reporting shifted against him but that is usually what happens after someone has been found guilty by a jury of their peers.

  4. Liz

    “Also, if Aamer is so sure that the emails provide a basis for an appeal for Tommy Sheridan why did Gail’s QC, who has seen the same evidence as Aamer, conclude so firmly on last Sunday’s Politics Show that the latest developments in News International provide no ground for such an appeal.”

    Could it be that Gail’s QC has now been hired by Andy Coulston??!!??

  5. Confused again

    As it is said that the verdict in the Sheridan case was made by the slender of margin ?, I am at a loss as to how Gail’s QC could have made such a claim!.

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