Ex-News of the World Scotland editor Bob Bird charged over Tommy Sheridan case

 

A former editor of the News of the World Scotland has been arrested and charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice at the time of ex-MSP Tommy Sheridan's defamation action against the newspaper.

Bob Bird was detained in Glasgow this morning by officers from Strathclyde Police.

He has since been released from custody and a report will now be prepared for prosecutors.

A force spokewoman said: "Officers from Operation Rubicon of Strathclyde Police arrested and charged a 56-year-old man with attempting to pervert the course of justice at the time of the defamation action of Thomas Sheridan versus News Groups Newspapers.

"A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow.

"Proceedings are now active and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further."

Mr Bird was held and questioned at Govan police station before being charged. It is thought he was detained at about 7.30am and arrested about four hours later.

The charge centres around Sheridan's defamation action against the News of the World six years ago.

The former socialist MSP won his civil case against the Sunday tabloid at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2006.

He was awarded £200,000 in damages after the paper printed claims about his private life.

Sheridan was jailed for three years in January 2011 after being found guilty of lying about the now-defunct tabloid's claims that he was an adulterer who visited a swingers' club.

That perjury trial, which lasted almost 12 weeks at the High Court in Glasgow, was one of the longest of its kind in Scottish legal history.

Sheridan was released from jail after serving one year of his sentence.

Mr Bird gave evidence at the 2006 hearing and the perjury trial.

Less than a fortnight ago, a former news editor of the News of the World Scotland was arrested and charged with committing perjury during Sheridan's 2010 trial, and conspiracy to hack telephones.

Douglas Wight, 39, also faced allegations of other data protection offences following an investigation by Rubicon officers.

In May, Prime Minister David Cameron's former communications chief Andy Coulson was arrested and charged with committing perjury at the same trial.

The ex-News of the World editor gave evidence at the High Court in Glasgow in December 2010.

Mr Coulson said he would "vigorously contest" the allegations.

Sheridan's solicitor Gordon Dangerfield said: "Today's arrest is the latest in a series arising out of the Tommy Sheridan cases.

"It would not be right to comment on individual charges but, as we have always said, there was a serious and wide-ranging criminal conspiracy against Tommy Sheridan in these cases.

"We look forward to the whole truth coming out in court at last."

Operation Rubicon is the Strathclyde Police inquiry into allegations of phone hacking, breach of data protection and perjury.

Under Rubicon, officers from the major investigation teams were tasked by the Crown Office to examine aspects of the evidence presented during the 2010 Sheridan perjury trial.

In addition, they are also examining specific claims of phone hacking and breaches of data protection in Scotland.

In Scotland, a person can be detained for up to 12 hours before being arrested or released. In certain cases, police can apply for that time limit to be extended.

After his release, Mr Bird told broadcasters outside the police station: "I just want to say I'm really sad and disappointed that things have come to this today.

"I have always tried to do the right thing throughout my 30, 40-odd years in journalism and I will be denying the charge that has been made against me today.

"On legal advice, I can't say any more at the moment."

PA

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter make a mad 320-metre, 75-step dash to work
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK edition of wedding show forced to recast after wave of drop-outs
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week