Scotland

Bid to overturn Tommy Sheridan defamation trial verdict

Tommy Sheridan
Image caption Tommy Sheridan won the defamation case in 2006 but was later found guilty of perjury

A hearing has begun to consider overturning the verdict in Tommy Sheridan's defamation trial.

In 2006, he was awarded £200,000 in compensation to be paid by the News of the World's publishers News International.

The now-defunct tabloid printed allegations about the politician's private life which included claims he visited a swingers club.

The former Scottish Socialist party leader has always denied these claims.

The hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh has been brought by News International in the hope of having the verdict against them "struck down".

Three judges - Lady Paton, Lord Drummond Young and Lord McGhie - will hear legal submissions over three days.

'Unsafe' verdict

Mr Sheridan, who was a Glasgow regional list MSP for eight years from 1999, was awarded compensation after winning the defamation trial in 2006.

However, in 2010 he was found guilty of perjury while giving evidence during the defamation case.

He was freed from prison after serving just over a year of his three-year sentence.

In submissions to the latest hearing, Alastair Duncan QC, representing the newspaper group, said that because Mr Sheridan was convicted of perjury, the decision of the defamation jury should be set aside.

He told the court that evidence had emerged which would have made it impossible for the original jury to say that the politician was the victim of defamation.

He added: "The verdict is unsafe because of the conviction. It is essential to the cause of justice for it to be set aside.

"We say that the verdict be set aside because its basis is contrary to the evidence which is before the court."

Mr Sheridan, who is representing himself, was also expected to address the court.

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