30 May 2012

Coulson charged with perjury in Scotland

David Cameron’s former communications chief, Andy Coulson, is charged with committing perjury during the Tommy Sheridan trial at Glasgow’s High Court.

The 44-year-old was detained in London this morning by officers from Strathclyde Police and then taken to Glasgow.

Mr Coulson gave evidence in the perjury trial of former Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan at the High Court in Glasgow in December 2010.

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers from Strathclyde Police’s Operation Rubicon team detained a 44-year-old man in London this morning under section 14 of the Criminal Procedure Scotland Act 1995 on suspicion of committing perjury before the High Court in Glasgow.”

The force said a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal which will decide whether Mr Coulson is to face court proceedings.

Operation Rubicon detectives have been looking at whether certain witnesses lied to the court during Sheridan’s trial as part of an investigation into phone hacking in Scotland.

The trial led to Sheridan’s conviction in December 2010. He has since been freed after serving just over a year of a three-year sentence.

Mr Coulson was called to give evidence at Sheridan’s trial because he was editor of the News of the World between 2003 and 2007, when it had published allegations about Sheridan’s private life.

Sheridan was awarded £200,000 in damages after winning the civil case, but a jury at the High Court in Glasgow found him guilty of lying about the now-defunct tabloid’s claims that he was an adulterer who visited a swingers’ club.

If prosecuted Coulson will face a judge and jury within Glasgow High court where, if found guilty he could be sentenced up to life imprisonment.