Six charges in Tommy Sheridan perjury trial dropped

Six allegations of perjury against former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) MSP Tommy Sheridan were dropped today as the trial entered its closing stages.

• Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail arrive at the High Court in Glasgow this morning, Picture: PA

Prosecutors told members of the jury at the High Court in Glasgow that the deletion of significant parts of the indictment would assist them as they prepare to consider their verdict.

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Evidence in the long-running trial came to an end on Friday when a perjury charge against Sheridan's wife Gail was withdrawn.

The politician remains accused of lying during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.

He was awarded 200,000 following the civil case he launched after the Sunday tabloid printed an article claiming he was an adulterer who visited swingers' clubs.

Sheridan originally faced more than a dozen claims of lying under oath at the start of the trial.

Five allegations, one of which was broken down into two sections in the indictment, were withdrawn today and six now remain.

The former SSP convener is accused of lying about statements he made during a meeting on November 9, 2004.

It is also claimed he lied about an alleged trip to a sex club in Manchester and about having sexual relationships with Anvar Khan and Katrine Trolle.

Beginning his closing speech, Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC told the jury that although there were no victims, such as there are in cases of murder or rape, perjury was a serious crime nonetheless.

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He said: "The charge is one of perjury. That is a serious crime for the simple reason that our whole system of justice falls apart if perjury is acceptable behaviour.

"It is not acceptable and should never be acceptable in a modern and dignified democracy.

"If we let perjury pass without action, we let ourselves down."

Mr Prentice told the jury that the move to drop the charges today was designed to assist them by allowing the remaining issues to be "sharply focused".