Media baron Rupert Murdoch failed last week in his bid to overturn Scottish socialist Tommy Sheridan’s 2006 defamation victory against the now defunct News of the World newspaper.
Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers argued that Sheridan’s 2010 perjury conviction meant the 2006 judgement was “unsafe” and that new evidence backed up its case. This would have made a new trial necessary.
The judges ruled the new evidence was not “essential to the justice of the cause”. They said the court should be “slow to interfere” with the verdict of a civil jury who were effectively “judges of fact”. It said they were “entitled to believe parts of what a witness said, and to disbelieve other parts”.
The result means the 2006 judgement and £200,000 damages awarded still stand.
The judges also felt they “should not ignore” Sheridan’s allegations of phone-hacking by Murdoch’s empire.
Its “disregard for proper journalistic conduct” and “wilful contempt” of the criminal process also fed into their decision. These allegations arose from evidence recovered from police raids surrounding phone hacking.
Sheridan is seeking to have his perjury conviction re-investigated and referred to the High Court to get the conviction quashed.