Tag Archives: News of the World

Bob Bird Detained for Alleged Attempt to Pervert the Course of Justice re Sheridan v NOTW

The BBC has reported this morning that the former editor of the News of the World’s Scottish edition has been detained in connection with the perjury trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan. The report states that Bob Bird is being held on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice over Mr Sheridan’s defamation action against the newspaper in 2006.

Strathclyde Police said a 56-year-old man had been detained in Glasgow.

Officers are investigating allegations of perjury and phone hacking as part of the Operation Rubicon probe.

Of course, Mr Bird has not yet been charged with any offence and, until a court declares otherwise, he is an innocent man. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

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Andy Coulson’s Evidence at the Sheridan Trial & the Legal Definition of Perjury in Scotland

On the basis that, at the time of posting this piece, Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of the World and former spin doctor to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, remains detained by Strathclyde Police in Govan Police station in connection with alleged perjury in the Tommy Sheridan trial, but not yet charged with any offence, I thought I could update and revise two pieces I wrote last year regarding the issues which might be of assistance to my readers.

I will repeat here – (well actually I will repeat it lower down the page) – Mr Coulson is innocent of any crime, unless and until convicted by a court. There might even not be any criminal proceedings at all.

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Part 1 – Mr Coulson’s Evidence in Detail

Perjury in the law of Scotland is the making of false statements under oath, the statements having to be competent evidence in the case in which they were made, and material to the subject of the case or investigation. There must be proof beyond reasonable doubt that the statement or statements are false and there requires to be evidence from at least two sources. Continue reading

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Andy Coulson “Detained” By Strathclyde Police – A Quick Guide to Detention

Andy Coulson, former “spin doctor” to Prime Minister David Cameron, and former Editor of the News of the World has been detained by officers from Strathclyde Police investigation allegations arising from evidence given at the trial of Tommy Sheridan in 2010 at Glasgow High Court.

Mr Coulson has not been arrested, despite reports stating that he has been.

What is “detention”?

Under Section 14 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, which was amended by the Criminal Procedure (Legal Assistance, Detention and Appeals) (Scotland) Act 2010, police in Scotland have the opower to detain a suspect for questioning. Continue reading

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Tom Watson MP Declares Tommy Sheridan’s Conviction for Perjury Unsafe – He is Wrong

 

Yesterday saw publication of the DCMS Report on phone hacking at News International. Tom Watson MP has been a vigorous investigator in these matters for which he deserves credit. However, according to Louise Mensch MP, he managed to break the committee on party lines by inserting a line about Mr Murdoch not being “a fit and proper person”. This was despite the fact that such a conclusion seems to have been outwith the terms of reference of the Committee. However, as Parliament is sovereign, it can reach such a conclusion, if it wishes.

Mr Watson has championed the cause of Tommy Sheridan. The former MSP was gaoled for perjury committed in his successful damages action against News International.

Mr Watson was again manning the ramparts for Mr Sheridan yesterday, declaring that the details uncovered by his Committee made the conviction unsafe. He can be found discussing the matter in detail here.

It might be fair to say that, if the Sheridan Trial took place today, the odious conduct of some of the News of the World staff might persuade a jury to acquit, but, BASED ON THE EVIDENCE given to the trial court, such a verdict would not accord with the evidence.

Mr Sheridan’s appeal against conviction was rejected as unsustainable by the Appeal Court without a full hearing.

I have previously written, at some length, about the Sheridan case, and the potential implications for (a) the trial verdict and (b) possible prosecution of witnesses at the trial itself for alleged perjury.

My “compendium” of pieces can be found here.

I would also heartily recommend the excellent analysis by the Lallands Peat Worrier, which can be found here.

LPW titled his piece, written in August 2011, “A numpty’s guide to appealing Tommy Sheridan’s conviction… “

Read it in detail, but his conclusion makes the position clear.

“In the absence of emails drafted in the hypothetical, fundamentally incriminating terms I describe, I struggle to see that the High Court will be moved to overturn the jury’s decision.  Similarly, if … alleged perjury is limited to the general unlawful practices of employees at the News of the World, and his knowledge of them, how does that impact on the critical issues of the Sheridan trial, concerning swingers clubs, his confessions to his colleagues and his lies about both in Court? These are the questions which Sheridan’s representatives will have to work up persuasive answers to, if their client is to see his conviction quashed on grounds of new evidence. As the Lord Justice General noted, setting aside the verdict of a jury is no light matter. And on these tests, convincing the High Court to overturn Sheridan’s conviction may be a very tall order indeed, despite alleged perjury, despite absent emails, whatever Tom Watson believes.”

As former Law Society of Scotland President Ian Smart, tweeting in his personal rather than ex officio capacity, commented last night, and I paraphrase “How does alleged perjury by defence witnesses help an accused overturn his conviction?”

Mr Sheridan, as detailed in Gregor Gall’s excellent book “Tommy Sheridan: From Hero to Zero” was convicted because of mistakes he made. Even if he became a target for the NotW, this was because of his own actions. Whilst the NotW has died as a result of phone hacking, nothing revealed so far casts, in my view, any doubt upon the jury’s verdict against Mr Sheridan.

It looks as if Mr Watson has not followed LPW’s advice from last August “However, we can be absolutely clear that Tom Watson MP is quite wrong in law to suggest that the absence of these emails by itself makes the case’s outcome fundamentally questionable. Watson may hold that view, but the High Court of Justiciary certainly won’t sympathise.”

 

Posted by Paul McConville

 

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