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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/15048

Posted on 17 August 2012 at 15:18 GMT

Second charge of perjury committed in Tommy Sheridan trial

Yet another ex-News of the World journalist has been charged with having committed perjury during the Tommy Sheridan trial in 2010.

Douglas Wight, who was the Scotland news editor when the NoW ran stories about Tommy Sheridan's private life in 2004, has been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to obtain personal data from members of the public.

Wight continued to work for the NoW until it was forced to close in July 2011, following the public outrage that came in the wake of the Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal.

Both Wight and Andy Coulson, the former editor of the NoW, have now been charged with perjury in Scotland for claiming during the Tommy Sheridan perjury case that they knew nothing about the widespread phone hacking that was endemic at the NoW.

Operation Rubicon

Strathclyde police have conducted a lengthy investigation into the Tommy Sheridan trial, phone hacking in Scotland and possible corruption among police officers as part of their operation Rubicon.

Rubicon was launched after Tom Watson MP and Tommy Sheridan's solicitor handed in a dossier of evidence to the police which contained widespread allegations of criminal activity by News International employees.

Coulson has also been charged in England along with five other former NoW journalists and private detective Glenn Mulcaire on phone hacking charges.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service at least 600 people were victims of voicemail hacking by News of the World employees.

The "industrial scale" of illegal phone hacking emerged after the police and the prosecuting authorities effectively covered up the chronic levels of criminality by News International.

On top of this, 14 current or former Sun journalists have been arrested as part of the Met police investigation into "inappropriate" payments to police and public officials by News International journalists.

The Met, who have seen a commissioner and deputy commissioner forced to resign as a result of the scandal, are under huge public pressure to be seen to act.

This follows the case of Andy Hayman, the Met officer who was supposedly in charge of investigating phone hacking in 2006, who concluded there was no evidence that there was any more than one "rogue reporter" involved.

Hayman ended up writing for the Murdoch-owned Times newspaper. The scale of the police cover-up in 2006 was indicated by the fact that the Met had in their possession 4,332 names and 2,987 mobile numbers of individuals that were held by the private detective Glenn Mulcaire when he was arrested.

Tommy Sheridan

The Socialist Party has consistently opposed the political vendetta faced by Tommy Sheridan and his family and supporters.

The Tommy Sheridan perjury conviction hinged on the unprecedented decision by the Scottish Crown to pursue an inquiry following Tommy's 2006 defamation victory over the NoW.

Lothian and Borders police carried out that inquiry and millions of pounds were spent trying to secure a politically-driven conviction of Tommy Sheridan who was a key leader of the mass anti-poll tax movement that ended the career of the iron lady Margaret Thatcher in the early 1990s.

Andy Coulson and Douglas Wight gave evidence that subsequently has been proved to be false. As Labour MP Tom Watson commented: "It is now abundantly clear that members of the jury were not in full possession of the facts.

"If they knew what the police now know, it seems impossible not to conclude that Mr Sheridan would be a free man.

"His conviction should be urgently reviewed. And if the first minister has any honour, he would launch an immediate inquiry into illicit information techniques practiced by News International's employees in Scotland."

The conviction against Tommy Sheridan is indeed unsafe and unsound and should be overturned. A full trade union-led public investigation should also be carried out into this political vendetta against one of Scotland's leading socialists.

Philip Stott

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