News of the World Scotland duo charges dropped

CRIMINAL charges have been dropped against two former News of the World journalists.

Former editor of the Scottish News of the World, Bob Bird. Picture: PA

Former editor of the Scottish edition Bob Bird and news editor Douglas Wight were arrested in 2012 as part of Police Scotland’s Operation Rubicon, an inquiry into allegations of phone hacking, breach of data protection and perjury in the Tommy Sheridan trial.

Mr Bird had been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice at the time of Sheridan’s defamation action against the newspaper, while Mr Wight had been charged with committing perjury during Sheridan’s 2010 trial, and conspiracy to hack telephones.

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The Crown Office said the charges have now been dropped.

A spokesman said: “The Procurator Fiscal received reports concerning Douglas Wight and Robert Bird, in connection with alleged offences between February 1995 and November 2010 and July 2006 respectively.

“After an extremely thorough investigation of these allegations, Crown Counsel decided that no criminal proceedings be taken.”

Last month, charges were also dropped against the Scottish Sun’s assistant editor Gill Smith.

She had been reported to prosecutors over alleged breaches of the data protection act.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Procurator Fiscal received a report concerning Gill Smith, in connection with alleged offences in 2000 and 2001.

“After full and careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Procurator Fiscal decided that no criminal proceedings be taken.”

Former socialist MSP Sheridan won a civil case against the News of the World at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2006.

He was awarded £200,000 in damages after the paper printed claims about his private life.

But Sheridan was jailed for three years in January 2011 after being found guilty of lying about the now-defunct tabloid’s claims that he was an adulterer who visited a swingers’ club.

That perjury trial, which lasted almost 12 weeks at the High Court in Glasgow, was one of the longest of its kind in Scottish legal history.