General

By Bob Duncan
 
Strathclyde police say they are preparing to press charges against more individuals after releasing the former News of the World editor Andy Coulson from custody in Glasgow earlier this week.
 
Police officers who charged Mr Coulson with perjury are homing in on other suspects in their investigation into Rupert Murdoch's empire in Scotland.

Coulson, David Cameron’s former spin doctor, was arrested at his London home early on Tuesday and driven to Govan police station.  Police then announced that he had been charged with perjury.  Perjury can in theory result in a life sentence, but sentences of a couple of years are more typical, a spokesman for the Scottish government justice department said.

But cases are being prepared against other suspects by detectives involved in Operation Rubicon – the probe into perjury at the Tommy Sheridan trial, phone hacking and possible illegal payments to police in Scotland. The Scottish inquiries are running separately from the major investigations by London police into newspaper malpractice.

A source told the Daily Record: "Operation Rubicon has uncovered widespread malpractice – in connection with the Tommy Sheridan case but also in connection with phone hacking.  Our main focus has been on who ordered illegal activities.  It is fair to say we are confident that there will be further arrests."

Police say that there may be more than 200 people in Scotland who have been victims of hacking, after their names were found in the notebook of Brian Mulcaire, the private detective who was imprisoned for phone hacking on behalf of the News of the World (NotW).

Detectives believe that the Scottish hacking victims would have been unlikely to be targeted by London editorial executives at the paper, believing that orders must have come from Murdoch operatives in Scotland to look at people like Sean Connery, Jack McConnell and Joan McAlpine.

Sheridan was jailed for three years in January last year after a jury voted narrowly to find guilty of perjury during his 2006 defamation action against the News of the World, which he won with damages of £200,000.  He was released from jail in January after serving one year of his sentence.

Coulson gave evidence at Sheridan’s perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow in December 2010, where he claimed he had no knowledge of illegal payments to police officers during the time that he was editor of the News of the World.

However emails subsequently surfaced that appeared to cast doubt on these claims.  Scottish News of the World editor Bob Bird, former husband of BBC Scotland newsreader Jackie Bird, was also questioned at the trial but denied being part of an "illegal culture of phone-tapping".

An internal report uncovered 'smoking gun' evidence of criminal behaviour at the News of the World five years ago, however, it was not handed to Scotland Yard until June last year, long after Sheridan had been found guilty.

The report indicated hacking was widespread and journalists were paying police.  Sources said 300 emails showed clear proof of criminal offences with a group of six journalists acting as ‘gatekeepers’ to private investigator Glen Mulcaire, who carried out hacking for the paper on a huge scale.

Mr Coulson resigned from his Downing St job a short time after giving evidence at the trial in the High Court in Glasgow as the phone hacking scandal intensified.  In July 2011 he was arrested by police officers from Scotland Yard on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemails and making corrupt payments to police officers. 

The investigation into these matters is continuing and no charges have yet been brought against him.  Mr Coulson denies all the allegations.

In his evidence to the Leveson enquiry last November, Paul McMullan, formerly the deputy features editor for the News of the World, had claimed that senior executives on the newspaper, including Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, knew that hacking and other illegal activities were widespread.

Asked whether the editors of the News of the World knew that voicemail messages were being intercepted, Mr McMullan replied:  "Yes ... I could go a bit further than that.  We did all these things for our editors, for Rebekah Brooks and for Andy Coulson." adding, "My assertion has always been that Andy Coulson brought that practice [phone hacking] wholesale with him when he was made deputy editor."

Prior to his arrest, prosecutors in Scotland had re-examined the testimony given by former News of the World editor at the trial.  The Crown office also directed Strathclyde police to re-examine evidence given by other witnesses at Mr Sheridan’s trial.

Two other News International employees also gave evidence at the Sheridan perjury trial; Scottish NotW editor Bob Bird and news editor Douglas Wight.

Coulson, 44, has returned to his home in London while the procurator fiscal decides if he will face court proceedings.  He is reported as having said he will “vigorously contest” perjury allegations against him if they are brought to trial.

Comments  

 
# Legerwood 2012-06-02 00:11
So people giving evidence at a perjury trial may have committed perjury - allegedly! Now we really have gone through the looking glass.
 
 
# edinburgh quine 2012-06-02 04:23
What (allegedly) revolting lives these people lead. Crawling (allegedly) around in the gutter desperate for titbits of salacious gossip to run in their equally disgusting tabloids. I hesitate to call them newspapers. The british press, with a couple of exceptions - Indy, grudgin - haven't been 'news' papers for many years now.

when confronted by their headlines on the shelves, I'm left with the desire to have a hot shower to get rid of the slime I feel surrounds me. Allegedly
 
 
# clootie 2012-06-02 06:48
Oh! what a tangled web we weave. When first we practise to deceive.
 
 
# Dances With Haggis 1320 2012-06-02 20:44
I just hope none of the arrests will be SSP members who gave evidence against Tommy as the Britnats will use it against the Yes campaign
 
 
# UpSpake 2012-06-02 06:51
The House of Cards, all over again !.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-06-02 07:01
Glad to see Sheridan finally getting his name cleared.


o/t. Seems like the Orange order are having a ball in Glasgow at taxpayers expense. Literally.

heraldscotland.com/.../...


Ah, yes, Labour run Glasgow city council, Scotland's very own 'Tammany Hall'. The stench of gerrymandering and corruption beggars belief. Vote stuffing entirely optional.
 
 
# RandomScot 2012-06-02 09:50
Sheridan is not having his name cleared.

For example, Andy Coulson was a witness for Tmmy Sheridan's defence, NOT his prosecution
 
 
# Teri 2012-06-02 18:04
22 Orange walks and 6 street parties in Glasgow over the jubilee weekend. Says it all, doesnt it?
 
 
# Aplinal 2012-06-02 08:02
Are we seriously to believe that (allegedly) the NotW was the ONLY paper doing this? That there is focus on the Murdoch empire is appropriate, but the inquiry should not forget the other bad apples in the barrel.

I am sure that I read (I will have to research this again) that the 'private investigator' allegedly pointed the finger at most, if not all others. The MSM seem pretty quiet about other, alleged, malpractices.

Seems to me that Murdoch has (allegedly) upset too many politicos, and HE and HIS empire will suffer. (It's also convenient to be ably to bring up an alleged connection with Murdoch and AS if it is only him in the frame!)

The alleged light hand treatment over Blair says it all. Murdoch is for the squeeze, the scapegoat, that others will walk away, and the MSM will once again have banner headlines about the Alleged Fantasy (in their eyes)"relationship" between Murdoch and AS.

If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny. This country really has plumbed the depths. If Scots can't see it, "we're doomed! I hell ya' Doomed!"
 
 
# edinburgh quine 2012-06-02 11:53
At least we'll all be able to spell allegedly by the end of this. allegedly
 
 
# george davie 2012-06-02 09:41
Watch EQUINOX TV clip of the anti BBC bias demonstration in Glasgow.



www.youtube.com/.../
 
 
# rgi50 2012-06-02 11:07
How do i get EQUINOX TV . If it wasn't for Newsnet i wouldn't have heard of it.
 
 
# tilly 2012-06-02 11:07
O/T: I see David McAllister, the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony in Germany is visiting Scotland next week. He’s tipped by some as a potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He says "I think there's quite a lot we can learn from Scotland. The highlight will be on Thursday when I'm at Holyrood.”

I shudder to think what his reaction will be if Lamont and her cohorts are performing in their usual idiotic manner.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-06-02 11:20
Interesting too is that Manuel Valls, a Catalan, is the new Home Secretary in France and some even had him as Prime Minister.
 
 
# govanite 2012-06-02 12:20
Marga
I mentioned on another thread that BBC Newsnight was talking about the Spanish economy last night.

Just wondered how that affects Catalonia's Independence drive ?
 
 
# Marga B 2012-06-02 13:16
Govanite - General view of context (other Spanish-based readers will have theirs) is that the population is moving much faster towards full fiscal autonomy/independence than the fearty politicians: Madrid-based parties being a terrible and disloyal brake on the process (sound familiar?)and the Catalanist parties mostly hand in glove with local business and so luke warm.

Don't forget that in recent years ordinary people's eyes have been opened to the fact that Catalonia is the "milk cow" sucked dry by a half-reformed Spain and the "fiscal pillaging" and the one-nation Spanish fanaticism, with central government increasingly openly acting to crush Catalan culture and language.

Catalan government is doing a hatchet job in cutbacks itself but this is being ignored by central government which is tramping all over devolved powers and about to cross some red lines in further demands for austerity which it is also using as a back-door to recentralise the state.

So things are jumpy and very stressful and in the context that Catalonia is effectively bankrupt (previous socialist alliance government's naivety plus real estate/banking disaster plus continued fiscal plundering plus now national demands for austerity) something will have to give soon.
 
 
# proudscot 2012-06-02 11:35
Quoting tilly:
O/T: I see David McAllister, the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony in Germany is visiting Scotland next week. He’s tipped by some as a potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He says "I think there's quite a lot we can learn from Scotland. The highlight will be on Thursday when I'm at Holyrood.”

I shudder to think what his reaction will be if Lamont and her cohorts are performing in their usual idiotic manner.


You mean asking interminable pointless questions, peppered with snide asides and puerile name-calling aimed at the First Minister, backed by mindless guffawing and desk slapping, isn't an example of serious politics which will be admired by any observers in the public or VIP galleries?
 
 
# balgayboy 2012-06-02 13:19
Aye, the poor guy having to listen to the wee steamie wifie sounding like she's losing her false teeth when she has to start having to string a few rudimental sentences together, followed up by the gesticulating leader of a nothing party in Scotland and finally the a libdem former bus driver trying to be all things to all people but just being the usual hypocrite. The only thing he will learn and recognise is how Scotland is blessed being led by a government that are for the people of Scotland.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-06-02 23:05
Aye Tilly and I note that whilst David McAllister, the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony in Germany is visiting Scotland, to learn, the NuLabour Numpty policy chief visits Germany for inspiration…. guardian.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Mark MacLachlan 2012-06-02 11:42
I've got to say this is the one benefit of Union. In an independent Scotland would Strathclyde polis been able to lift Coulson at 6.30am in his London home without the aid of Interpol?

One wonders if any of the News of the World Scottish journalists involved in the original Sheridan exposé are suffering from sweaty bumcrack at the thought of Strathclyde's finest turning up at their front door.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-06-02 13:24
Will a smoking gun be found somewhere in BBC Scotland's lovely offices?
 
 
# sneckedagain 2012-06-02 17:24
I see my last post - an entirely innocuous one - has disappeared again.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-06-02 22:22
Quote from article:

An internal report uncovered 'smoking gun' evidence of criminal behaviour at the News of the World five years ago, however, it was not handed to Scotland Yard until June last year, long after Sheridan had been found guilty.

I think this says it all for me. What a shower of ******** (put whatever derogatory word you think fit…. I don’t want to fall foul of the mods) the previous NuLabour Government was under Jimmy Broon.
 
 
# Angus 2012-06-03 00:24
A lie to a lier is no lie at all!
It is pretty obvious that there are two liers, Tommy and Murdoch.
Though that said, I would hope Tommy's heart lies (sorry, is)in Scotland!
 

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