Cheers as Gail Sheridan cleared of perjury charge

The wife of former Member of the Scottish Parliament Tommy Sheridan walked free from court to cheers after she was cleared of perjury yesterday.

Gail Sheridan, 46, left the High Court in Glasgow hand in hand with her husband after she was acquitted of lying to the court during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.

Prosecutors told her they were no longer pursuing the charge against her.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC said he had considered Mrs Sheridan's "personal circumstances" when he made the decision. Mrs Sheridan had been on trial along with her husband Tommy, who is also accused of perjury.

Last month the Crown dropped a chapter of evidence from the case, which also affected their case against Mrs Sheridan.

Mr Prentice said: "I have now had the opportunity to consider and review the Crown case now all the evidence has been heard.

"I am of the view that as I have not proceeded with that chapter of evidence, and taking into account her personal circumstances, it is no longer necessary in the public interest to proceed further with the charges in respect of Mrs Sheridan."

The announcement was met with cheers from the public gallery and Mrs Sheridan wept and hugged her husband in the dock.

The judge, Lord Bracadale, then formally acquitted her and adjourned the case.

Every day for 10 weeks, Mrs Sheridan walked by her husband's side into court, looking confident and poised.

Well-groomed and impeccably dressed, she often held her husband's hand as she arrived to appear in the dock alongside him.

Inside the courtroom she listened to claim after claim that he had cheated on her in a string of seedy encounters – claims that Sheridan denies.

Tommy Sheridan still faces one charge of perjury.

The former Scottish Socialist Party leader denies lying to the courts during the action against the News of the World, which followed the newspaper's claims that he was an adulterer who visited swingers' clubs.

He won 200,000 in damages after the newspaper printed the allegations about his private life.

The trial continues on Monday.