Tommy Sheridan calls for defamation appeal to be dismissed

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

Former MSP Tommy Sheridan has asked three appeal judges to dismiss an attempt to overturn a defamation case he won a decade ago.

The former Scottish Socialist Party leader was awarded £200,000 in 2006 when he won a case against the News of the World newspaper.

The tabloid printed allegations about his private life which included claims he visited a swingers club.

News Group, which owned the paper, wants the verdict "struck down".

On the second day of the appeal hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Mr Sheridan said the evidence News Group Newspapers was going to present was illegally and criminally obtained.

He said there was a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Sheridan has always denied the paper's allegations that he was a swinger and cheated on his wife.

The politician, 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 earlier case and jailed for three years.

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

'Completely fabricated'

At the Court of Session, Mr Sheridan told judges Lady Paton, Lord Drummond Young and Lord McGhie: "The motion should be dismissed due to the inadmissibility of the evidence.

"The evidence was illegally and indeed criminally obtained as was most of the evidence which was relied on in the perjury proceedings.

"This evidence which the defenders seek to rely upon should not be admitted in this court."

He said Fiona McGuire, the source of the original News of the World story in 2003, now accepted that her story was "completely fabricated."

Mr Sheridan said this showed that the decision of the jury in the 2006 trial was correct.

He added: "This motion for a new trial should be dismissed."

Prison sentence

The court heard that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission was looking at the circumstances surrounding Mr Sheridan's conviction.

News Group Newspapers, which was previously News International, owned the now-defunct News of the World until it closed in 2011.

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.

The hearing continues.

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