Perjury charge dropped in Tommy Sheridan trial

Tommy Sheridan was acquitted today of trying to persuade a witness to commit perjury shortly before his defamation case after prosecutors dropped the charge.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC withdrew the charge at the close of the Crown case this afternoon.

The Crown also dropped several allegations against Sheridan and his wife Gail, who are on trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

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The couple, both 46, deny lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World newspaper in 2006.

The action followed the newspaper's claims that former Socialist MSP

Sheridan was an adulterer who visited swingers' clubs.

Today the Crown dropped the charge that in June 2006 Sheridan tried to persuade his former SSP colleague Colin Fox to commit perjury.

Mr Prentice said: "I withdraw the charge because the evidence comes from one source only, Colin Fox.

"I should make it clear that the withdrawal of the charge is not a reflection on the credibility of Mr Fox."

The couple now face one charge each, accusing them of lying under oath at the 2006 libel action.

The indictment is divided into a number of subsections, 10 of which were withdrawn today.

In Sheridan's case, the deleted subsections related to a conversation about a night of "madness" at a Glasgow hotel.

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It had been alleged that Sheridan lied when he told the Court of Session in Edinburgh on June 21 2006 that no conversation took place between him and Keith Baldassara during which he said he was present at "madness" in a Glasgow hotel, but did not participate.

The Crown also withdrew an allegation that Mrs Sheridan lied when she told the Court of Session on July 31 2006 that she saw Sheridan phoning directory inquiries and asking for the number of Cupid's health club, and that her aunt arrived in Scotland from the US on June 14 2002.

The other allegation dropped was that she lied when she told the court she saw Katrine Trolle at the Scottish Socialist Party Conference in Perth in 2005.