segunda-feira, 17 de dezembro de 2007

Former MP 'lied about sex life'

Controversial former Scottish MP Tommy Sheridan has been charged with perjury over allegations that he lied to jurors about his sex life during a high-profile libel trial, police said today.

After being charged and released, the former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party vowed to fight the claims, which he said were brought about by a political witch-hunt.

Sheridan, 43, was arrested by plain clothes officers just minutes after finishing a radio phone-in show he now hosts.

The charges came a year after he successfully fought libel action against the News of the World Sunday tabloid.

A jury found Sheridan had been defamed by Rupert Murdoch's News International newspaper and was awarded STG200,000 ($A470,000) in a case that made headlines across the country.

He had denied claims he had cheated on his wife, Gail, indulged in drug-fuelled orgies and visited a "swingers" sex club.

His wife, who gave evidence on his behalf - contradicting several other witnesses - was placed under house arrest at their Glasgow home while officers searched the property. She has not been charged.

Police, who were asked to launch an investigation by the trial judge who had raised concerns of "contradictory evidence", charged Sheridan with perjury late yesterday. He faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

"Lothian and Borders police can confirm that a 43 year-old man has been arrested, cautioned and charged with perjury and released," a spokeswoman said.

"Inquiries are continuing in respect of others and a report will be submitted (to prosecutors)."

Sheridan dismissed the charges and insisted he would prove his innocence.

"This whole farcical inquiry ... has been orchestrated and influenced by the powerful reach of the Murdoch empire and I believe that I am the victim of a witch hunt from the Murdoch empire," he told reporters.

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