Last month Organized Rage carried a piece entitled ‘Tommy Sheridan: Already vindicated by a jury of his Peers’. In the article I looked at the perjury changes that Sheridan, his wife and a number of comrades from Scottish Solidarity now face. I wrote that approximately forty-thousand police and support staff hours have been spent so far investigating this case, police who had been working on other more serious crimes were drafted in to work on this inquiry. Plus if you consider that in some areas of the UK when your home is burgled you are unlikely to be visited by a police officer, one gets an idea of the priority the Chief Constable of the Lothian and Borders Police gave to this enquiry. It is difficult not so conclude that Tommy Sheridan and his wife and comrades have been singled out for special treatment by elements within the UK State establishment, whether they be Businessmen, police, politicians or members of the judiciary.
Understandably Scottish Solidarity have questioned the objectivity of the Crown Office and the police in matters relating to the Murdoch press and when one takes into account the aforementioned one can hardly blame them. A recent decision made by the Crown Office not to prosecute the News of the World for a breach of UK electoral law, again highlights the fact that Rupert Murdoch and his media Empire seem to be a law unto themselves.
During last year’s Scottish local government election campaign, The News of the World published a story concerning Irene Lang, a Solidarity member who was standing as a candidate for a council seat in the Glasgow area, the story in the NoW breached the ‘Representation of the People Act 1982’ by lying about Mrs Lang’s personal circumstances. The paper accused her of fraudulently being on benefits by claiming a non existent back injury. There was no truth in the story and as such, under the act, it becomes a criminal offense during an election campaign to publish an untruthful article about a candidate which can clearly have an impact on their electoral campaign.
Despite a clear breach of the law the Crown Office have decided to drop the case. Mrs Lang said: “When I took the evidence to the police station, the officer told me that it was a clear and obvious breach of the law. Yet, for some reason, it is deemed to not be ‘in the public interest’ to proceed with a criminal investigation or prosecution. My reputation has been damaged and there is no doubt this interfered with my election campaign as local voters were led to believe that I was fraud.” Mrs Lang’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, has written to the Procurator Fiscal and the Lord Advocate, seeking clarification on the decision.
Yesterday it was revealed in The Herald, one of Scotland’s leading newspapers through a Freedom of Information request, that Lothian & Borders police had only allocated 2 police officers and 800 hrs of police time to investigate the bugging of Tommy Sheridan’s car, a mere fraction of the resources allocated in the investigation relating to Sheridan’s alleged perjury during the court case that led to his victory over the New of the World. [The cost of the said investigation has now topped a million pounds]
It will be interesting to find out how many man hours etc the Scottish police put into investigating the News of the World’s breach of the election law, which in the many peoples eyes is a serious crime which should have been pursued through the courts.. *
Thanks to Jim M for updating me on this [MH]