Glasgow & West Scotland

Tommy Sheridan vows to clear name after release from jail

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Media captionTommy Sheridan vows to clear his name

Tommy Sheridan has vowed to clear his name after being released from prison following his conviction for perjury.

Speaking outside his Glasgow home, he said: "This fight is far from over and this story has not yet finished."

The 47-year-old was found guilty of lying during his successful defamation case against the News of the World newspaper in 2006.

He was jailed in January 2011 after being convicted in the longest perjury trial in Scottish legal history.

Sheridan has served just over a year of his three-year sentence in prison.

Under current arrangements, any prisoner serving a sentence of less than four years is eligible for automatic early release at the half-way point in their jail term.

Electronic tag

Sheridan was therefore entitled to be freed from prison after 18 months.

It is possible, however, for individuals to spend up to the last six months of their sentence on home detention curfew.

This means that they can live at home but must wear an electronic tag for the remainder of their sentence.

Sheridan told reporters that he expected to be "tagged" later on Monday.

Addressing reporters and a number of supporters, he said it was a "delight" to be back home with his wife and daughter.

"Up until a couple of hours ago I didn't know if I would be able to speak because up until a couple of hours ago I was still gagged," he said.

"I was told two hours ago that that gag has now been lifted."

Sheridan thanked "the thousands of ordinary folk across Scotland and further afield" who he said had sent him messages of support during the "last difficult 12 months".

He said: "I want to thank them for being so human and so warm and for respecting the fact that although we lost a trial... we will continue to fight to clear my name."

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Media captionTommy Sheridan leaves Castle Huntly open prison after serving one year of a three-year sentence for perjury

The former politician said he was "determined to highlight the contrasts" between his family's treatment and that of the former News of the World journalists who had been arrested over the phone hacking scandal.

"I have not read about any of them who have had their homes raided over a mammoth nine-hour search, or their children traumatised in the interests of justice," he said.

"Well, I've got news for them and for others. This fight is far from over and this story has not yet finished."

Sheridan said he believed he would soon return to the High Court in Glasgow "not as an accused but as an accuser" against people who he claimed had lied during his perjury trial.

He said he was "confident" that once these "lies" had been highlighted he would have "a very strong appeal that will, hopefully, lead to the quashing of my very unfair, unsafe and unsound conviction".

Referendum campaign

He finished his address by condemning the coalition government at Westminster for making "ordinary folk pay for a crisis that's got nothing to do with them".

He added: "I look forward to re-engaging in the battle for justice and against inequality and against poverty, and I also look forward to engaging in the campaign to deliver Scotland, not just as an independent country, but as an independent socialist country as well."

During his three-month trial, Sheridan claimed he was the victim of a "vendetta" by the police and a "conspiracy" involving the now-defunct News of the World and former colleagues within the SSP.

In August last year, he was denied the chance to appeal against his conviction, following a ruling by senior judges.

Sheridan was convicted of five of six allegations in a single charge of perjury, relating to his evidence during the civil action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

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