By a Newsnet reporter
Tommy Sheridan has promised to pursue those he claims lied at his trial and that he will be returning the High Court in Glasgow in the very near future.
Mr Sheridan was speaking only hours after being released on parole to serve out the last six months of his sentence after being found guilty of committing perjury.
A defiant Mr Sheridan warned figures linked to the former News of the World who had been caught up in the phone hacking scandal and who he claims committed perjury at his trial, that he was not giving up his battle.
“Well, I’ve got news for them and for others: this fight is far from over. This story has not yet finished. I believe that I will return to Glasgow High Court in the near future.’
Mr Sheridan claimed witnesses had lied during his perjury trial and said he would have “a strong appeal that will hopefully lead to the quashing of my unfair, unsafe and unsound conviction”.
He added: “I have to also say, however, that in the 12 months I have been away, things have not got any better for ordinary working-class folk. Wages have been cut, prices have increased and the Con-Dem millionaire Government wants to make ordinary folk pay for a crisis that was nothing to do with them.
“I look forward to re-engaging in the battle for justice and against inequality and poverty, and I also look forward to engaging in the campaign to deliver Scotland not just as an independent country but as an independent socialist country as well.”
Mr Sheridan’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, confirmed that Mr Sheridan intended to appeal his conviction and also claimed that the authorities had climbed down in an attempt at preventing Mr Sheridan from speaking publicly throughout the remaining six months of his sentence, and said:
“I have been instructed to prepare a new appeal which will be related to the outcome of Strathclyde Police’s investigation into allegations of phone hacking and perjury at Tommy’s trial.
“Tommy was told before Christmas by the Scottish Prison Service that on release he could not speak directly to the media. Such a condition would have been a draconian attack on his right to free speech.
“Over the weekend we stated this would be illegal and challenged it in the courts. The authorities have come to their senses and a gagging order will not be imposed.”
The claims from Mr Sheridan and his lawyer are thought to relate to the testimony of Andy Coulson, the former News of the World executive and media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, who gave evidence under oath at Mr Sheridan’s perjury trial.
In July last year Mr Sheridan’s lawyer, called for Mr Coulson and Bob Bird (Scottish News of the World editor) to be investigated by police over allegations they may have committed perjury.
At the trial Mr Coulson testified that he had no knowledge of his newspaper making payments to police officers for information. However emails surfaced that appeared to cast doubt on the claims and Mr Coulson was subsequently arrested, though later released without charge.
Scottish News of the World editor Bob Bird was also questioned at the trial but denied being part of an “illegal culture of phone-tapping”.
In 2007 an internal police investigation uncovered ‘smoking gun’ evidence of criminal behaviour at the News of the World, however, it was not handed to Scotland Yard until June of last year.
The report showed hacking was widespread and journalists were paying police thousands of pounds for information. Sources said 300 emails show clear proof of criminal offences with a group of six journalists acting as ‘gatekeepers’ to private investigator Glen Mulcaire, who carried out hacking for the paper on a huge scale.
Mr Mulcaire was also found to have the mobile telephone number of Tommy Sheridan in his posession along with Mr Sheridan’s private pin codes.
Some emails seem to suggest there was clearly evidence of serious crime with senior journalists paying substantial sums of money to police officers.
The police officers are not named, but the company’s cash records correlate to four-figure sums mentioned in the emails totalling approximately £120,000.