News Group Sheridan £200k libel appeal suspended

Former MSP Tommy Sheridan claimed victory today in the latest round of a long-running legal battle over his award for damages from the News of the World.

Sheridan was back at court in Edinburgh six years after winning £200,000 from the now-defunct newspaper, which alleged he was an adulterer who visited swingers clubs.

The former Scottish Socialist Party MSP, who has not yet been paid the money, was later found guilty of lying in that libel case and was recently released from prison after spending one year of a three-year sentence in jail.

The newspaper owner, News Group, challenged the libel damages award but the appeal was frozen during the criminal trial.

Today, three judges were asked to reopen the appeal by News Group solicitors in light of the perjury conviction.

Sheridan’s legal team argued the case should remain frozen – technically called sisted – until police investigations into alleged phone hacking and other practices can conclude.

After a short hearing at the Court of Session, Lord Clarke said: “The appropriate course is to refuse the motion to recall the sist.”

Sheridan, speaking outside the court, said: “We will wait for the outcome of that investigation and then look forward to coming back to this court to fight for the upholding of the original jury verdict in this trial.”

He added: “If it was a boxing match, it would be round one to us.”

His solicitor, Aamer Anwar, said Strathclyde police are looking at allegations of phone hacking and data protection breaches in Scotland.

Anwar said: “We expect that inquiry to take place for another several months or so.

“We do not know what the outcome of that investigation will be but the News of the World will simply have to wait until that investigation is completed.

“The shoe is on the other foot this time around. News of the World is now defunct and they are presently facing massive investigation north and south of the border.”

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