The former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, is going on trial in Scotland. He has been accused of committing perjury in 2010 at the trial of Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan, which took place at the High Court in Glasgow.
Mr Coulson – who hails from Kent – previously served as head of communications at Downing Street. He has officially entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the High Court in Edinburgh.
The trial is expected to last around four weeks and will take place before judge Lord Burns.
During the 2010 trial in question, Sheridan dismissed his legal team and chose to represent himself. Coulson was amongst the witnesses called to testify during the two-day proceedings.
The indictment surrounds testimony Coulson gave during a previous perjury trial. It states that Coulson falsely stated he did not know that News of the World journalist, Clive Goodman, was involved in the notorious phone-hacking scheme carried out at News of the World – at least not before Goodman’s arrest in 2006.
It also states that Coulson claimed to be unaware that payments were being paid to private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, and that he was unaware of any illegal activities carried out by Mulcaire.
Furthermore, the indictment states that Coulson lied under oath when he claimed to have no knowledge of payments made to corrupt police officers while serving as editor at News of the World.
Judge Lord Burns told jurors that there has been a great deal of information circulating about Coulson. He reminded the panel of 15 that they had sworn to try the accused “solely and exclusively” upon evidence presented to them from the witness stand.
He also urged jurors not to let their views or opinions related to Sheridan affect their decision in this trial.