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Watchdog will review Sheridan perjury verdict

SCOTLAND's miscarriage of justice watchdog is to review Tommy Sheridan's conviction for perjury.

CONFIDENT: Tommy Sheridan, with wife Gail, believes his conviction will be quashed. Picture: James Galloway
CONFIDENT: Tommy Sheridan, with wife Gail, believes his conviction will be quashed. Picture: James Galloway

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has confirmed it will investigate the former MSP's conviction from 2010.

The announcement came just as former News Of The World editor and No 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson was today expected to appear in court to face his own perjury allegations relating to Sheridan's trial.

Sheridan spent more than a year of a three-year sentence behind bars before being released in 2012.

He and Coulson were key witnesses in the 2006 defamation action when Sheridan successfully won £200,000 in damages from the newspaper after it printed an article saying he visited a swingers' club in Manchester and cheated on his wife Gail.

He was an MSP representing the Scottish Socialist Party at the time.

In 2010 Sheridan was found to have lied in that civil case. He has since exhausted the courts' appeal process against this perjury conviction after senior judges refused him leave to appeal in 2011.

A spokesman for the Commission said yesterday: "We have approved Mr Sheridan's appli­cation for us to carry out a full review."

Sheridan made the application in June and will now have to wait until next year to find out its result. The Commission does not declare guilt or innocence. Its job is to say if it thinks there are grounds to believe there may have been a miscarriage of justice in a case - and allow the courts to re-open the case.

Its biggest investigation to date raised concerns over the conviction of the late Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the only person ever convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

Sheridan said: "It has taken a frustratingly long time to progress, but at last the Commission has the files and my appeal against conviction has been assessed and considered worthy of more detailed analysis.

"I am absolutely confident my unsafe conviction will eventually be quashed and my name will be cleared.

"I look forward to the Commission recommendation at the end of next March."

His solicitor, Gordon Dangerfield, said: "This is obviously an important step forward in the process of having Tommy's conviction appealed and overturned.

"I consider the evidence that we have gathered in support of the appeal is utterly compelling.

"In my view, that evidence demonstrates very clearly the conviction was a shocking miscarriage of justice, and I am very much looking forward to the Commission's own independent investigation and decision."

Coulson, 46, is expected to appear at the High Court in Glasgow for a preliminary hearing today in relation to the charges he faces.

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