Three years for Mr Sheridan

Tommy Sheridan, convicted of perjury in December 2010, was on 26 January 2011 sentenced to three years' imprisonment by trial judge Lord Bracadale at the High Court of Justiciary in Glasgow.

The best account of what transpired in court is to be found on James Doleman's Sheridan Trial blog.  It appears that Mr Sheridan's 40-minute plea in mitigation (full text here) was a much better performance than his five-hour closing speech to the jury back in December.  There is an intriguing reference to the jury's majority verdict being the "narrowest" possible, i.e. 8-6 as there were only 14 jurors; but no confirmation of that from elsewhere.  (Nor, may it be noted, any sign of action against the juror who posted her support for Mr Sheridan's innocence on Facebook.)

The sentence is a little longer than Scots Law News had anticipated, but much shorter than the five years widely predicted in the media.  It means that, provided he behaves in prison, Mr Sheridan should be back in circulation around the middle of 2012.  In the meantime, an appeal against his conviction has been confirmed.  With stories about News of the World phone hacking gaining momentum and former editor Andy Coulson having to resign as the Prime Minister's Director of Communications as a result, so the prospects brightened of a further civil action against the newspaper by Mr Sheridan as a possible victim of their intrusive practices.

The BBC is very proud of the fact that its reporter Raymond Buchanan became the first journalist to tweet live from a Scottish courtroom, Lord Bracadale having granted permission for this to happen; but makes no reference to the James Doleman blog, rightly praised in the Scottish Review as the only serious attempt to report what was actually going on in the Sheridan trial as it happened.

UPDATE

The BBC reports a statement by Gail Sheridan that she will not be standing as a Solidarity candidate in the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary election.  The Herald speculates that Tommy Sheridan will spend only a year in prison and will thereafter spend six months in an electronic tag on home curfew.

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