• STV
  • MySTV

Tommy Sheridan jailed for three years

The former MSP was found guilty of lying during a defamation case against the News of the World.

Sheridans: Ex-MSP Tommy jailed over perjury charges

Tommy Sheridan has been jailed for three years after he was found guilty of lying during a successful defamation case against the News of the World.

The former MSP and member of the Scottish Socialist Party was accused of committing perjury after he took the tabloid newspaper to court over an article in 2004. He was found guilty by jury last month and convicted of five charges.

The newspaper claimed he was an adulterer who visited swingers’ clubs. He took the paper to court and won £200,000 in damages.

But he was then accused of lying along with his wife Gail during the 2006 case.

At the High Court in Glasgow last month his wife was acquitted of all charges and then Sheridan saw six charges against him dropped. He was left facing six charges - and found guilty of five.

During his 50-minute plea in mitigation, Sheridan told the court that although he had previously spent time in prison, it was for politically motivated reasons - never for dishonestly.

He said: "I have no previous conviction for a single act of dishonesty."

The father-of-one also said the case had affected his family's health. He said: "The trial took its toll on my health and my piece of mind but especially on the health of Gail. My primary concern is the devastating effect of custody on my family."

"The jury have already done what I feared. I will be separated from my wife and my young daughter."

But the judge Lord Bracadale said: "On any view you were a hard working and effective politician but by pursuing a defamation action against the News of the World you brought the walls of the temple crashing down."

Sheridan has already revealed plans to appeal against the conviction along with legal action against the News of the World and others over phone-hacking allegations.

He originally faced more than a dozen claims of lying under oath at the start of the trial – which lasted 12 weeks and included dozens of witnesses.

The former SSP convener was accused of lying about statements he made during a meeting on November 9, 2004.

It is also claimed he lied about an alleged trip to a sex club in Manchester and about having sexual relationships with Anvar Khan and Katrine Trolle.

Witnesses included the Scottish News of the World editor Bob Bird, who admitted stripping to his boxer shorts while at a meeting with a man who claimed to have evidence that Sheridan lied during his defamation case.

Andy Coulson

Downing Street spin doctor Andy Coulson also gave evidence at the perjury trial. The 42-year-old was editor of the News of the World at the time of Sheridan's defamation action against the newspaper.

Sheridan maintained his innocence throughout the trial, claiming he was the victim of a "vendetta" by the police and a "conspiracy" involving the News of the World and colleagues within the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP).

He claimed that 16 former allies were lying as part of a "political civil war" when they told the court that he had admitted at a 2004 meeting to having been to Cupid's swingers' club in Manchester.

The jury found him guilty of lying about an affair with SSP member Katrine Trolle in 2005 and a trip to Cupid's with her, Andrew McFarlane, Gary Clark, and News of the World journalist Anvar Khan on September 27 2002.

Speaking outside court after the verdict, Mrs Sheridan said the real reason her husband had been jailed was for fighting injustice.

She said:  "As for Tommy - well, Tommy has dedicated his life to helping others. The real reason why he has been imprisoned today is because he has fought injustice, inequality with every beat of his heart. It won't be long before Tommy is back, stronger and continuing the fight."

Sheridan's lawyer Aamer Anwar also released a statement on his behalf. He said: "This multimillion-pound prosecution will separate me from my wife and child, and that will be heartbreaking, but I will continue to fight a system that protects the real criminals, the reach and the powerful.

"I have today instructed my solicitor to lodge an appeal against conviction, but also to launch a legal action against the News of the World, Metropolitan Police, and Glenn Mulcaire over phone-hacking. In addition, my solicitors will begin to contact a dossier of Scottish names handed to them of those whose phones may have been hacked."

A News of the World spokesman praised the many witnesses who took part in the trial, saying: "This is a just outcome to a long and complex criminal case. Today's sentence also provides closure for the many witnesses who very bravely exposed their own lives to public scrutiny when they testified to Mr Sheridan's guilt.

"Mr Sheridan has been jailed for lying to a court to secure victory when he sued the News of the World for defamation in 2006. At the time he was an elected member of the Scottish Parliament.

"As we have made clear, we have an appeal lodged against that defamation verdict and we now look forward to that appeal succeeding in Scotland's Court of Session."

A statement issued by Sheridan's Solidarity party said the three-year sentence was "barbaric and draconian".

It said: "Solidarity will continue to give our full backing and support and backing to Tommy, and in particular to Gail Sheridan and the family at this difficult time. Neither Tommy Sheridan nor Solidarity will be broken. We stand, as always, in solidarity."

IN DETAIL

Trial's key moments

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.