Glasgow & West Scotland

Tommy Sheridan in new bid to overturn perjury conviction

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Media captionTommy Sheridan submitted a dossier on his case to the SCCRC on Tuesday

Former Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan has launched a new bid to overturn his conviction for perjury.

The 50-year-old submitted documents on Tuesday to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in Glasgow.

He said new evidence would prove he was the victim of a "criminal conspiracy".

Mr Sheridan was awarded £200,000 in damages after winning a defamation case against the News of the World in 2006. He was later jailed for three years for committing perjury during that case.

Speaking outside the offices of the SCCRC, which looks into cases where there has been an alleged miscarriage of justice, Mr Sheridan said his lawyer had been working on his appeal document for almost 18 months.

He said it was "a dossier which we are very, very confident is going to lead eventually to the quashing of my criminal conviction for perjury in 2010".

'Criminal conspiracy'

Mr Sheridan also said he believed it would "expose" others who he claimed were involved in a "criminal conspiracy to conceal evidence" during his perjury trial and to "effectively have me fitted up during that trial".

He said this had undermined his ability "to conduct a reasonable defence in the course of that trial".

He added: "This is the culmination of a long process of collecting all of the evidence required and we are confident that it is going to be the start of the journey to clearing my name and also giving some succour and support to those who have stuck by me over many, many years."

Mr Sheridan's lawyer, Gordon Dangerfield, said: "It is true, as Tommy says, that we believe we have uncovered a very widespread, very extensive criminal conspiracy against Tommy Sheridan and against the course of justice in his civil trial, his criminal trial and in fact ongoing to this day.

"I think people will be shocked when the full story comes out about how high this conspiracy goes and the people who have been involved in it, including people who held and in some cases still hold very high offices."

The lawyer said the SCCRC had thousands of documents to consider and he would not expect a decision for a number of months.

The application focused on two main areas, he said.

The first was the alleged "wrongful judicial exclusion of evidence" which the lawyer suggests prevented the "conspiracy" coming to light.

Mr Dangerfield said: "The other is that there has now been a huge amount of further information uncovered which gives us new evidence grounds of appeal that there was this extensive conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in both of Tommy's trials."

Mr Sheridan's perjury conviction stems from his defamation case against the News of the World in 2006.

The now defunct tabloid printed allegations about his private life, which included claims that he visited a swingers' club and cheated on his wife.

He was awarded £200,000 in damages after winning the case against the newspaper at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

However, in 2010 he was found guilty of perjury after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Mr Sheridan - who was freed from prison after serving just over a year of his three-year sentence - has always maintained his innocence.

In 2011, he was refused leave to appeal against the perjury conviction.

His legal team wanted to argue that he had been denied a fair trial because of the amount of publicity generated before it got under way, but senior judges found the case was "not arguable".

In cases where there has already been an unsuccessful appeal or leave was previously refused, the only route back to appeal judges is via the SCCRC.

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