News: Andy Coulson acquitted of perjury on Judge’s ruling

3 06 2015

Coulson AcquittedFormer News of the World Editor Andy Coulson was today acquitted of perjury at the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh after the trial judge, Lord Burns, ruled that there was no case to answer.

The judgment in the case of HM Advocate v Coulson [2015] HCJ 49) was handed down on 1 June 2015 but only made public today after the Crown decided that it would not appeal.

The defence had argued that there was no relevant charge of perjury because the evidence given by Mr Coulson at the 2010 trial of Tommy Sheridan was not relevant to the live issues in the original trial.

The prosecution argued that the evidence was relevant to credibility which, in turn, arose in connection with the alleged identification of Mr Sheridan in a video which had been sent to the News of the World and to Mr Sheridan’s claim of unlawful activity by the News of the World.

These arguments were rejected by Lord Burns who held that

“To show that the accused had lied about the matters in this indictment would not have assisted in establishing that Mr Sheridan’s phone had been hacked and would have had no evidential value upon the issue of the credibility of the identification at the original trial.  Nor would it have assisted in establishing fabrication of the video.  In my view the false evidence was irrelevant and an objection to its admissibility would have had to be sustained by the trial judge” [44].

The Crown Office later confirmed that there would be no further prosecutions of News UK staff in Scotland.  It confirmed that charges against Bob Bird, the former News of the World Scottish editor and Doug Wight, a former News of the World Executive, had been dropped.

James Doleman, who has been reporting the trial on Byline after a successful crowd funding appeal has a piece entitled “Why was Andy Coulson acquitted?“.  He notes that, unless something surprising happens “the official investigation into phone-hacking in Scotland is as good as over”.


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3 06 2015
sdbast

Reblogged this on sdbast.

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