Andy Coulson perjury trial to begin in Edinburgh on Friday
The trial of David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson is set to begin in Edinburgh on Friday after the last legal issues postponing the case were settled by a judge today.
Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World who became Downing Street director of communications after Cameron came to power in 2010, was due to face a jury during the last weeks of this year's general election campaign, however legal argument led to the case being postponed until this week, removing a potential political embarrassment for the prime minister before the polls closed.
Coulson is charged with three counts of perjury relating to testimony he gave in the 2010 trial of Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan. The former News International employee, who was working for Downing Street at the time, was called by the defence to answer questions about his role at the now defunct News of the World and his knowledge of the illegal interception of voicemails carried out by the newspaper's staff while he was editor. Sheridan was later convicted of perjury and sentenced to three years in prison and Coulson resigned from the government a month later.
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In the wake of the 2011 phone-hacking scandal, Strathclyde Police launched "Operation Rubicon" to investigate allegations of misconduct at Sheridan's trial. As a result, in 2012 seven Scottish police officers detained the former editor at his home in Dulwich, South London at 6.30am and drove him to Glasgow. Shortly afterwards he was arrested and charged.
Also facing legal action are the paper's former Scottish editor Bob Bird and senior reporter Douglas Wight. However when contacted by The Drum, Scottish prosecutors said no decision on whether to proceed in these cases had yet been made.
The trial is expected to last six weeks. Mr Coulson denies all of the charges against him.