(599)  L’AFFAIRE SHERIDAN AGAIN

On 2 October 2006 the Crown Office announced that it had instructed police to conduct a criminal investigation of the evidence given by witnesses at the trial of the defamation action brought by Tommy Sheridan MSP against the News of the World (see previously Nos 587, 589, 590, 592).  The announcement was apparently unrelated to the newspaper’s publication the previous day of videotapes of a conversation between Mr Sheridan and George McNeilage, in which, it was alleged, the former confessed to the truth of some of the stories about him which had been the subject of the defamation action.  Mr Sheridan robustly denies ever making these confessions, and says the tapes are faked.  Whatever the truth of the matter, Mr Sheridan does not appear to be good at keeping his friends: Mr McNeilage was his best man in 2000, but claims to have made the tapes covertly in November 2004 as a result of his increasing concern about the effect Mr Sheridan’s behaviour was having on the Scottish Socialist Party.

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