Parole deal includes gagging order for Tommy Sheridan
Socialist politician Tommy Sheridan, convicted of perjury in a case involving the News of the World, is being released from prison on Monday – but with a gagging order.
The Scotsman reports today that Sheridan is believed to be the first person in Scotland to be served with a ban on speaking in public as part of his parole conditions.
The paper reveals that it has ...”learned that the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has imposed a unprecedented six-month gagging order on Sheridan, who has already signalled that he wants to play an active role in the pro-independence campaign, as part of a series of conditions that will effectively silence the former Glasgow MSP.
“A prison service source said that Sheridan will be allowed to attend a press conference outside his Glasgow home on Monday afternoon, but will then be prevented from making any further public comments for a period of six months after his release from Castle Huntly open prison.
Sheridan’s solicitor Aamer Amwar said that his client was “just going to read a statement” and will not be giving interviews at Monday’s press conference.
The Scotsman reports that last night Paul McBride, one of Scotland’s leading QCs, said that the move was “almost unheard of”, suggesting that the order had been imposed to save prison authorities from “embarrassment” at Sheridan’s release - just one year into his three-year sentence for perjury.
Attacking the order as “silly and pointless”, McBride warned that the prison service decision had set a “very dangerous precedent” for a democratic society.
The SPS source told The Scotsman that the condition was being imposed to ensure that Sheridan still faces “similar restrictions to those of a prison inmate” during the first few months of his parole. The former politician remains at risk of being recalled to prison if he speaks at political rallies or gives media interviews.