Perjury charge over Sheridan trial

The former news editor of the News of the World Scotland has been arrested and charged with committing perjury during the trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan and conspiracy to hack telephones, police have said.

Douglas Wight, 39, also faces allegations of other data protection offences following an investigation by officers from Operation Rubicon of Strathclyde Police.

A force spokeswoman said a report would be sent to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow.

A statement from Strathclyde Police said: "Officers of Operation Rubicon of Strathclyde Police arrested and charged an 39-year-old male with perjury before the High Court in Glasgow during the trial in 2010 of Tommy Sheridan, the former MSP, conspiracy (in Scotland) to hack telephones, multiple charges of conspiracy to obtain the personal data of members of the public in breach of the Data Protection Acts and individual offences under these Acts."

In May, David Cameron's former communications chief Andy Coulson was arrested and charged with committing perjury at the same trial. The 44-year-old former News of the World editor gave evidence in Sheridan's perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow in December 2010. Mr Coulson said he would "vigorously contest" the allegations.

Operation Rubicon detectives have been looking at whether certain witnesses lied to the court during Sheridan's trial as part of a "full" investigation into phone hacking in Scotland.

Sheridan was ultimately jailed for three years in January last year after being found guilty of perjury during his 2006 defamation action against the News of the World. He had been awarded £200,000 in damages after winning the civil case but a jury at the High Court in Glasgow found him guilty of lying about the now-defunct tabloid's claims that he was an adulterer who visited a swingers' club.

The trial, which lasted almost 12 weeks, was one of the longest of its kind in Scottish legal history. The former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) leader represented himself after parting company with QC Maggie Scott.

He was convicted of five out of six allegations in a single charge of perjury relating to his evidence during the civil action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. His wife Gail was on trial along with him but was acquitted of lying to the court during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.

He was released from jail in January after serving one year of his sentence and vowed to continue the fight to clear his name.