Glasgow & West Scotland

Bob Bird charged by Tommy Sheridan trial probe police

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Media captionBob Bird: "I will be denying the charge that has been laid against me today"

The former editor at the News of the World Scotland has been charged in connection with the defamation action of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

Bob Bird, 56, was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice over Mr Sheridan's successful action against the newspaper in 2006.

He was detained at his Glasgow home at 07:30 and released four hours later.

Officers are investigating allegations of perjury and phone hacking as part of the Operation Rubicon probe.

Speaking following his release, Mr Bird said: "I just want to say that I'm very sad, very disappointed that things have come to this.

"I have always done my best to do the right thing throughout the 30/40 years of my journalistic career and I will be denying the charge against me.

"On legal advice I can't say any more at the moment."

Mr Bird edited the now defunct Scottish edition of the News of the World when it ran allegations about Mr Sheridan's private life.

The former MSP successfully sued the newspaper for defamation in 2006 and was awarded £200,000 damages.

A subsequent police investigation saw Mr Sheridan charged, convicted of perjury and jailed for three years. He was released after serving just over one year of his sentence.

Mr Bird gave evidence at the original defamation trial brought by Mr Sheridan in 2006 and his subsequent perjury trial at the end of 2010.

The journalist was detained at his Glasgow home by officers from the Operation Rubicon probe on Wednesday morning and questioned at Govan Police station, at Helen Street.

Data protection

In a statement, the Strathclyde force said: "Officers from Operation Rubicon at Strathclyde Police have arrested and charged a 56-year-old man with attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2006 arising from his conduct at the time of the defamation action of Thomas Sheridan v News Group Newspapers Limited.

"A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in Glasgow, in due course. It would be inappropriate to comment further."

Image caption Tommy Sheridan was jailed for three years for committing perjury

Mr Bird is the third senior News of the World figure to be questioned by Operation Rubicon officers.

Earlier this month, Douglas Wight, a former news editor at the News of the World Scotland, was arrested and charged in connection with the perjury trial of Mr Sheridan.

The 39-year-old was charged with perjury, conspiracy to hack telephones and multiple charges of conspiracy to obtain personal data.

In May, Prime Minister David Cameron's former director of communications Andy Coulson was arrested and charged over evidence he gave at Mr Sheridan's perjury trial.

The former News of the World editor was charged with committing perjury during the trial in 2010.

Following Mr Bird's arrest, Mr Sheridan's solicitor Gordon Dangerfield said "we look forward to the whole truth coming out in court at last".

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