SSP Four face court commission over minutes demand

Scottish Socialist Voice, 265

We reproduce below a piece from Scottish Socialist Voice which should be of great concern and interest in all socialists. We'd like to express our solidarity with the SSP at this trying time with the state attempting pry into the confidential business of a labour movement organisation.

As the Voice went to press, four SSP members - Eddie Truman, Frances Curran, Colin Fox and Alan McCombes - were appearing before a commission of the Court of Session after being served with demands to release internal party minutes and documents to News International, publishers of News of the World.

News International are seeking the materials as part of the legal action raised against them by Tommy Sheridan MSP.

Eddie, who is on sick leave, was excused from answering questions on medical grounds and both Frances and Colin confirmed that they did not have the minutes sought and that the only set was in the possession of Alan McCombes. Alan confirmed this to the commission and explained that on the grounds that the party has the right to hold private discussions on confidential matters, he was not prepared to release them.

He pointed out that the Scottish Executive keeps material confidential, as do commercial firms and other bodies.

Told that there was a procedure whereby he could lodge the minutes in a sealed envelope to allow a hearing to determine whether they should be released, he asked if they would be released. When told they would be if the court so ruled, he again said he would not be willing to release them. He was warned that he faced the possibility of imprisonment for contempt until he complied with the demand for the documents.

A report of the events will now be sent to the judge dealing with the case, and the commission was adjourned to be reconvened in the near future.




May 2006

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