Strathclyde Police Charge ex NOTW man Douglas Wight re the Sheridan Trial

According to the BBC, a 39 year old mn has been detained by Strathclyde Police and subsequently charged with various offences. The detention appears to part of the Operation Rubicon investigation into allegations of phone hacking and perjury in connection with the trial of Mr Sheridan.

The BBC reported that the 39 year old man “has been charged with perjury, conspiracy to hack telephones, and multiple charges of conspiracy to obtain the (sic) personal data.”

Andy Coulson, formerly of News International and latterly of Downing Street, has already been charged in connection with te Rubicon Investigation.

Of the three witnesses from the News of the World at the Sheridan Trial, neither Mr Bird nor Mr Coulson is now aged 39.

The matter will now be reported to the procurator fiscal.

Charges of conspiracy are noteworthy, as a result of their rarity. One cannot conspire on one’s own. In addition, the charge of conspiring with persons to the prosecutor unknown can be seen as an effort to charge a person for a one man conspiracy.

It will be very interesting to see, should this matter come to court, with whom the 39 year old man is alleged to have conspired.

Will this development assist Mr Sheridan, as undoubtedly his supporters, such as Tom Watson MP will proclaim?

It clearly depends on what happens with any prosecution arising, but, apart from Mr Bird’s evidence regarding the so-called McNeilage Tape, there appeared little evidence which could have been critical to the verdict.

Mr Coulson was in fact cited and called as a defence witness and even though the witness believed to be the 39 year old referred to in this piece was formally a Crown witness, this was described in the brilliant James Doleman’s excellent and indispensable Sheridan Trial Blog as follows:-

“After explaining to the court that the next witness was being called by the Crown as a courtesy to  Mr Sheridan, and therefore would not be seeking any evidence in chief from the witness, Alex Prentice QC called Douglas Wight as a witness, confirmed his name, his age of 37, occupation as a News Of The World (NoW) journalist and residence as London, then returned to his seat.”

The man charged will, and rightly so, be treated as an innocent man until a court declares otherwise.

Establishing perjury, if there is guilt, can be very difficult, especially where called as a defence witness whose evidence does not achieve an acquittal. Conspiracy is also a notoriously tough charge to prosecute, in the absence of “smoking gun” testimony.

The Sheridan case looks likely to retain interest for some considerable time yet to come.

Posted by Paul McConville

 

Addendum – It has now been confirmed that, as I thought, the man charged is former News of the World journalist Douglas Wight. The passage I quoted above from the Sheridan Trial blog relates to him, as can now be seen.

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10 Comments

Filed under Criminal Law, News Of The World, Tommy Sheridan

10 responses to “Strathclyde Police Charge ex NOTW man Douglas Wight re the Sheridan Trial

  1. mick

    lets hope the truth comes out and gail and tommy can move on from it .Also if there was wrong doing a hope tommy gets compo and takes gail a round the world trip as she deserves it for being there throw thick and thin.

  2. yes Paul. the significant event here is that the man has been named and although I will not name him here, note too that he was a crown witness. That at least gives Mr Sheridan a formal ground of appeal. You will recall his initial appeal grounds were denied. I imagine this is no longer the case and a formal appeal will now have to be granted at least?

  3. mick

    when a think of tommy a always think of “a world without frontiers”something a hope he gets his teeth in to when all the drama is over .

  4. flump

    ” Alex Prentice QC called ***** ***** as a witness, confirmed his name”
    That would be “the gatekeeper for the dark side”

  5. Clydesider

    Do you think they’ve got the (W)right man?

  6. John Burns

    Mick – The truth is out – he is a liar. Twenty of his erstwhile colleagues testified to this.

    LET’S HOPE WE CAN MOVE ON WITHOUT HEARING ABOUT THIS ‘BALLOON’ WEEK OUT AND WEEK IN

  7. Boss Hogg

    For balance, Mick, if I am forced to think of Mr Sheridan – I cannot recall ever doing do so spontaneously and I hope nothing will happen to change this – I also think of noise, heat, darkness, nihilism, opportunism, hypocrisy, terraced villas, exploitation, despair, miniature bottles of alcoholic beverages, the Clyde and tawdriness amongst other things.

    I assume these ancillary thoughts are a matter of coincidence only. Mr Sheridan certainly exhibits none of these unhappy qualities.

    Nonetheless, revision by plebiscite seems quite likely.

  8. Marching on Together

    Sheridan is clearly a Rangers fan. A complete lack or remorse for what he did, and no sign of him saying sorry, yet expects to pop up after his penalties have been served, as if nothing had happened.

  9. lewis

    The only person who clearly committed perjury at the Sheridan trial was Fiona McGuire – yet she has never been charged. She started the whole thing off by selling an outrageous story to the NOTW, provoking Sheridan to sue.

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