Sheridan is cleared of Faslane demo charge

THE Scottish socialist leader, Tommy Sheridan, was cleared yesterday of causing a breach of the peace during a mass demonstration outside the home of Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines.

The Glasgow MSP had pleaded not guilty to the offence at a protest at Faslane naval base on the Clyde on 22 October, 2001.

During his 40-minute trial at Argyll and Bute District Court in Helensburgh, Mr Sheridan, 38, said he felt he had every right to participate in the demonstration, one which he said was described afterwards as "peaceful and friendly" by police officers and naval base staff.

The case was dismissed by the Justice of the Peace, John MacPhail, saying: "I am not persuaded there is a sufficiency of evidence."

After the verdict, Mr Sheridan said: "What’s vital now is the establishment of the right to peaceful protest as is clear in article 11 of the European Court of Human Rights.

"Those who attend Faslane naval base to express their opposition to nuclear weapons quite simply have the legal right to do so."