FORMER NEWS OF the World editor Andy Coulson was last night arrested and charged with perjury following a day of questioning by Scottish police.
The 44-year-old ex-aide to Prime Minister David Cameron had been detained in his home and taken to Govan Police Station in Glasgow to help with enquiries.
After hours of questioning, he was formally arrested and charged.
The perjury charge relates to a high-profile perjury case against politician Tommy Sheridan in December 2010. The former Member of the Scottish Parliament was sentenced to three years in prison after it was discovered he lied during a 2006 defamation action against the News of the World. Coulson was editor at the time of the defamation suit but an employee of Downing Street when he was called as a witness in the perjury case.
According to Sky News, the tabloid had revealed details about his infidelities and a visit to a swingers’ club in 2006.
After being questioned by Sheridan – who represented himself in the perjury case – Coulson strongly denied being involved in or being aware of any phone hacking at the newspaper. He said that he did not “accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the News of the World”.
A jury in the High Court then found that Sheridan had lied about the claims. He only served one year of his sentence.
A statement issued by Strathclyde Police simply said: “A 44-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged perjury before the High Court. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”
No date has been set for a court appearance, reports BBC News.
Coulson is currently on bail after being arrested in relation to allegations of phone hacking in July 2011.
Cameron has insisted he had been right to offer Coulson a “second chance,” but the aide’s arrest last year by London police investigating phone hacking, and this fresh charge, have raised new questions about the British leader’s judgement.