Sheridan: £200k NoW libel win is 'like Gretna beating Real Madrid'

Former Scottish Socialist Party leader and MSP Tommy Sheridan has won his extraordinary defamation action against the News of the World.

The jury took two and a half hours to return a verdict after hearing 22 days of evidence.
The MSP sued the tabloid after it printed articles in 2004/05 which claimed he cheated on his wife, went to a swingers' sex club and took part in orgies.

Sheridan sacked his legal team and conducted his own case for much of the trial.

The jury heard conflicting evidence and the judge told them before retiring that they could well presume that at least some of those testifying were lying.

Witnesses testified that Sheridan had admitted attending swingers’ clubs to an MSP party meeting.

Another witness said they saw Sheridan taking part in group sex.

Sheridan argued that there was a “dodgy minute” of the party meeting where he allegedly made sexual confessions. He also alleged that people were influenced by News of the World payments.

Making an impassioned statement outside court he said: "I have over the last five weeks taken on one of the biggest organisations on the planet, with the biggest amount of resources to pay for the most expensive legal teams to throw nothing but muck against me, my wife and my family.

"Well, brothers and sisters, what today's verdict proves is that working class people, when they listen to the arguments, can identify the truth from the muck.

"The working class people in the jury have found in our favour and have done a service to the people of Scotland."

He said: "What I have done over the last five weeks is the equivalent of Gretna taking on Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and beating them on penalties."

In addition to the £200,000 payout, which was the maximum possible, the News of the World is also set to face a hefty bill for Sheridan's legal costs which is also likely to run into the hundreds of thousands.

Photo: Reuters/David Moir

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