Sheridan fails in new bid to sue the News of the World

Tommy Sheridan
Image caption Tommy Sheridan won the defamation case in 2006 but was later found guilty of perjury

Former politician Tommy Sheridan has failed in a legal bid to secure an extra £200,000 payment from the publishers of the News of the World.

The ex-Scottish Socialist Party leader won a defamation action against the newspaper in 2006 after it made lurid claims about his private life.

The convicted perjurer said he was due a second pay-out from News Group Newspapers after the phone hacking row.

But in a Court of Session ruling, Lord Turnbull refused to grant his request.

Sheridan's solicitor, Gordon Dangerfield, argued that the publishers of the paper should be punished for allowing its employees to use illegal methods to acquire information about his client.

He acknowledged Sheridan - who was jailed in 2011 for committing perjury during the defamation action - had also committed wrongdoing.

Mr Dangerfield told the Court of Session in Edinburgh it was at "many levels below" the conduct of the News of the World.

But in his judgement, Lord Turnbull refused to grant Sheridan the extra payment.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bob Bird was editor of the Scottish edition of the News of the World

He was also scathing in his criticism of the former MSP and the "utterly reprehensible" conduct of the tabloid, which closed in July 2011.

In his judgement, Lord Turnbull wrote: "There can be few other civil cases heard in modern times which has attracted such notoriety.

"I know of no other civil case in which a litigant, who sought to vindicate his reputation through an action for defamation, emerged as a criminal convicted of perjury and at the same time secured an award of a very substantial sum of money.

"To include within the award of damages in the verdict a further £200,632 would be a step which many would find difficult to comprehend, not least those who suffered injury to their standing and feelings as a consequence of the pursuer's conduct towards them in court and went uncompensated."

The judge described the circumstances of the case as "exceptional".

Swingers club

Sheridan sued the News of the World for defamation after the paper published a story in 2004 alleging he had cheated on his wife Gail, with a woman called Fiona McGuire.

A jury awarded him £200,000 after Sheridan described how the claims made by Ms McGuire detrimentally affected his reputation of being a family man.

The News of the World claimed he was an adulterer who attended a swingers club but Sheridan strongly denied this.

But in December 2010, Sheridan was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of committing perjury during the defamation proceedings.

The jury found that he deliberately lied during the defamation case and that he actually visited the swingers club.

It also concluded he had sex with nurse Katrine Trolle at the same time he was married to Gail.

During the latest proceedings, News Group's advocate Roddy Dunlop QC said it could "be taken as read" that Sheridan's phone was hacked.

But he argued that News Group should not be liable to pay the extra sum and Lord Turnbull agreed.

'Entirely unacceptable'

The judge also said he did not accept the comparison Mr Dangerfield made between his client's conduct and that of the News of the Word.

He even observed that Sheridan had "something in common" with the now-defunct tabloid.

Lord Turnbull criticised the paper's plan to have Ms McGuire "spirited away" to Dubai during the defamation proceedings.

He added: "I accept, as is obvious and has been so comprehensively demonstrated by the events which have unfolded over the years since the jury trial concluded, that some of those associated with the News of the World conducted themselves, on many occasions, in ways which were entirely unacceptable.

"Some even engaged in criminality.

"For the defenders to have paid to have Fiona McGuire spirited away to Dubai in order to thwart a motion to have her recalled was utterly reprehensible."

The judge also singled out Bob Bird, the paper's former Scottish editor.

He concluded: "Mr Bird, in particular, conducted himself in a manner which might have warranted criminal proceedings had the arrangement been successful.

"He abused the trust of the court in allowing him to remain in the court room throughout the proceedings.

"As it happens of course, no motion to recall this witness was in fact made and the money was wasted."

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