Scotland’s most famous and
charismatic politician Tommy Sheridan was sentenced to three years in prison,
pronounced guilty of lying under oath in a defamation case that netted him
Sheridan, 46, was last month found
guilty by a majority verdict at a high court in Glasgow of lying about stories
published in the News of the World that he had adulterous affairs and visited a
sex club in Manchester with two of his lovers.
Soon after those tawdry tales appeared
in print in 2006, he took out a defamation action against the News of the World
where he persuaded a jury that the tabloid had lied about his private life.
Sheridan was awarded damages, but
was quickly put under investigation for perjury.
News of the World is now appealing
the 2006 libel trial verdict, demanding repayment of legal costs.
During the 12-week perjury trial,
Sheridan denied that he had ever admitted visiting the Manchester club Cupids
to his former colleagues in the Scottish Socialist party (SSP).
But on 23 December the jury delivered the guilty verdict,
pronouncing that he had in fact lied about not only those conversations but
also an affair with Katrine Troll, a former SSP member.
The high-profile trial also
included testimony from Andy Coulson – at the time David Cameron’s head of
communications – and Scottish Sun editor Bob Bird who both gave evidence
Sheridan’s wife Gail, who has vowed to stand
by her husband, was also accused of lying to the jury at the Court of Session
in Edinburgh in 2006, but she was acquitted when the Crown dropped the case
against her last month.
Sheridan’s conviction means he will
be unable to stand again for Scottish parliament — which might be a problem if
he has to pay back over $300,000 in legal expenses to the News of the World.
In spite of the mounting
controversy, his wife has promised to stick by him despite the conviction.