Tommy Sheridan perjury conviction 'unsound', MP claims
Published: 6th Jul 2011 17:59:47
A Labour MP told the Commons the News of the World scandal could make Tommy Sheridan's perjury conviction unsound.
During Sheridan's perjury trial last year, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson denied knowledge of his paper paying corrupt police officers.
But it has now been reported that newly found e-mails suggest Mr Coulson authorised payments to police.
Sheridan's lawyer is to ask Strathclyde Police to begin an inquiry into whether Mr Coulson committed perjury.
During an emergency Westminster debate on the News of the World phone hacking scandal, Tom Watson, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence, said he thought there was now a question over the reliability of Tommy Sheridan's conviction.
"I think the Sheridan trial was unsound and may need to be revisited," he said.
On Tuesday he told BBC Scotland that News of the World e-mails relating to Sheridan had been found in London, despite claims during the perjury trial that they had been lost in India.
BBC Scotland understands that on Thursday Sheridan's lawyer Aamar Anwar will ask Strathclyde Police to consider a perjury investigation into the evidence given by the former News of the World editor.
Mr Anwar is expected to be joined by the Labour MP Tom Watson at a press conference in Glasgow.
I don't accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the News of the World”
Mr Watson and Mr Anwar are also expected to make documents public which suggest senior executives of News International, the owners of the News of the World, were previously involved in commissioning private detectives.
During the perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow, Mr Coulson, who was was director of communications at Downing Street at the time, denied presiding over "dark arts".
He left the newspaper when the tabloid's royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed for conspiracy to access phone messages. Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was imprisoned for six months on the same charge.
During his evidence, Mr Coulson denied knowing of Mr Mulcaire until the Goodman court case.
He told the court: "I don't accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the News of the World."
When asked by Sheridan, who was defending himself, whether his newspaper paid corrupt police officers, Mr Coulson answered "not to my knowledge".
"There is nothing I am not prepared to discuss in relation to my time at the News of the World," he said during heated exchanges with Sheridan.
Mr Coulson also denied he been given a pay-off to keep quiet by the News of the World.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to set up a public inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World.
Mr Coulson resigned from his government post in January, saying claims over phone hacking during his time as News of the World editor were making his job impossible.
But a Press Complaints Commission investigation in May 2007 found no evidence that Mr Coulson or anyone else at the paper had been aware of Goodman's activities and, that same month, he became Mr Cameron's director of communications.
Revelations involving the News of the World continue to emerge following the claims that the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked.
Families of victims of the 7 July bombings in 2005 have complained that they may have had their phones hacked.
Police investigating hacking claims against the paper have also contacted the parents of murdered schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Tommy Sheridan perjury conviction 'unsound', MP claims [Online] (Updated 6th Jul 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/168120/Tommy-Sheridan-perjury-conviction-unsound-MP-claims [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com