3rd JUNE- PRESS RELEASE- ANDY COULSON ACQUITTED
(with Tom Watson MP on 7th July 2011 before handing in dossier to Strathclyde Police)
Statement by Solicitor Aamer Anwar- who submitted the dossier and complaint to Strathclyde Police on the 7th July 2011, leading to Operation Rubicon and Andrew Coulson being charged with perjury.
“We were told repeatedly during Mr Sheridan’s trial that perjury strikes at the heart of the administration of justice and that nobody was above the law. During the trial, Andrew Coulson gave evidence under oath that he had no knowledge of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire’s illegal activities or of phone hacking.
I believed that to be untrue so on July 7th 2011 I provided a dossier of information gathered over the course of two years on the activities of the NOTW and others to Strathclyde Police containing allegations of criminality.
This led to the launch of Operation Rubicon, a million pound operation, resulting in charges being brought by Police Scotland against 4 individuals including Andrew Coulson.
This dossier contained the names of scores of individuals in Scotland from all walks of life who were subjected to illegal activities by News of the World.
The acquittal of Andrew Coulson is an unsatisfactory outcome for many whose lives were destroyed by the NOTW, but it was right for the Crown Office to pursue a prosecution if nobody is above the law.
But contrary to popular misconception over perjury- no crime occurs when a false statement is made under oath unless it is considered material in influencing the outcome of the proceedings, in this case the perjury trial of Thomas Sheridan.
However it is of real concern that a spotlight on Andrew Coulson has meant Operation Rubicon failed to pursue other journalists in Scotland who engaged in criminality. The dossier I presented to the police confirmed that there was a culture whereby journalists had an utter disregard for the law whilst destroying people’s lives with immunity.
Phone hacking and the illegal exchange of confidential information occurred on an industrial scale and certainly did not stop at the border. Yet for some reason a decision was made not to pursue in Scotland the individuals named in this dossier despite over £1 million pounds being spent on an investigation.”