Tommy Sheridan lawyer urges robust investigation

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The Independent Online

Tommy Sheridan's lawyer today called on police to conduct a "robust investigation" into the evidence given by senior News of the World figures at the ex-MSP's perjury trial.





Solicitor Aamer Anwar's comments came hours after Scottish prosecutors asked officers to look at testimony made by witnesses at last year's trial in light of continuing allegations about the Sunday newspaper in relation to phone hacking.



Among those who testified in the High Court case were former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, the editor of the Scottish News of the World Bob Bird and reporter Douglas Wight.



Sheridan was ultimately jailed for three years in January after being found guilty of perjury during his 2006 defamation action against the newspaper.



Mr Coulson, then Downing Street director of communications, told the trial in December that he had no knowledge of illegal activities by reporters while he was editor of the newspaper.



He also claimed: "I don't accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the News of the World."



Mr Anwar today presented Strathclyde Police with a dossier which he said contained details of private information accessed by the News of the World in relation to celebrities, sports stars and politicians.



He was unable to say who the people were or exactly how many had been affected.



Addressing a news conference in Glasgow just minutes before News International announced it was shutting down the paper, Mr Anwar said: "The Crown Office claimed the prosecution was in the public interest and that nobody was above the law.



"We now demand a similar robust investigation of the serious allegations facing those who gave evidence at the trial.



"If people lie in the High Court then it strikes at the heart of the administration of justice.



"We are providing copies of the trial notes of the evidence of Andrew Coulson, Bob Bird and Douglas Wight, along with other evidence to Strathclyde Police.



"Nine months ago we were provided with an unredacted dossier of private information accessed by the News of the World of individuals such as football players, heart surgeons, soap stars, athletes, TV stars, TV chefs, Olympic athletes, their spouses, Lord Mayors and even a murder victim."



He went on: "If the services requested, such as mobile conversion, friends and family numbers, ex-directory, DVLA, were obtained by 'blagging' then that is illegal and people should be prosecuted." Mr Anwar said.



"In Scotland, scores of names, numbers and addresses appear of individuals from all walks of life who may have been subjected to illegal activities by News of the World, but the Metropolitan Police in the first inquiry never bothered to contact them.



"We are requesting that they are contacted by the Strathclyde Police and that their details are cross-referenced with the phone hacking inquiry now taking place in London.



"If for years there has been a culture whereby corrupt police officers and News of the World journalists have had an utter disregard for the law and have destroyed people's lives, then they must now be held to account if they are not above the law."