My life is at stake, Tommy Sheridan tells jury

Former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) MSP Tommy Sheridan today pleaded with a jury to acquit him of perjury, telling them his life was at stake.









The politician addressed the panel at the High Court in Glasgow at the close of a long-running trial into allegations he lied under oath during his defamation case against the News of the World in 2006.



Sheridan was awarded £200,000 following the successful action prompted by the newspaper's claims he was an adulterer who visited swingers' clubs.



He was originally charged alongside his wife Gail but the charges against the mother of one were dropped on Friday.



Sheridan denies six allegations of perjury during the civil jury trial in July 2006.



He began his closing remarks with an apology to the jury for the length of his speech.



Sheridan, who is conducting his own defence, said: "I do hope that you'll understand that my life is at stake.



"I've got a wee girl at home, I've got a loving wife and if you decide to convict me I'll be separated from them for a very long time.



"I have to convince you that there's far too much reasonable doubt for you to find me guilty of any of the remaining six charges."











During the first part of his speech, Sheridan raised questions over the testimony of several Crown witnesses, including SSP member Barbara Scott, who the trial has heard handed the minutes of a party meeting in to police following the defamation action.



It is alleged that Sheridan admitted attending a sex club on two occasions at the gathering on November 9 2004.



He also remarked on the evidence of fellow member Allison Kane, who said he did not attend a party event on September 27 2002 - the night he is alleged to have visited Cupid's in Manchester.



He said Ms Kane seemed to have a "marvellous recollection" about people not being places.



Sheridan said: "The Crown's problem is that they are seeking to rely on liars, they are seeking to rely on witnesses who lack credibility and reliability."



He also criticised the investigation by Lothian and Borders Police, saying his family had been "persecuted" and launched a staunch defence of his wife.



Referring to events on Friday, he said: "My wife Gail became a free woman for the first time in three years and was allowed to at last attend (her child's) primary school without having a charge over her head of being a perjurer."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border