Friday, 24 December 2010

The Sheridan case

So Tommy Sheridan has been found guilty of perjury.

My initial reaction is that this is the correct verdict.

There have been several blogs covering the trial; the comprehensive SheridanTrial blog is probably the best of the bunch.

The crown case was based on what appears to be fairly convincing evidence given in court (as detailed in  the blogs above and elsewhere). The original newspaper reports about his personal life forced him to quit as leader of the Scottish Socialist Party; he sued for defamation and won £200,000 from the News of the World. It now turns out that he lied in order to win that case.

The strange things about suing newspapers is that it just throws fuel onto the fire. I cannot remember hearing about the original allegations about him until his successful case against the News of the World.

What really got my goat today was the statement read on Sheridan's behalf by his solicitor. There was no contrition, no admittance of wrong doing; instead it was a polemic against the News of the World. I am no fan of that particular rag, but complaining about the state spending money investigating your crime whilst throwing mud at your victim is utterly wrong.

The parallels with the Aitken and Archer cases perjury cases are obvious. I think it will become especially hard for politicians to sue newspapers for defamation in the future. This can only be a bad thing.

No comments: