x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Ex-Cameron media aide Andy Coulson detained over alleged perjury

he former top media adviser to the UK prime minister was detained on suspicion of perjury in the trial of a flamboyant former Scottish parliamentarian.

LONDON // The former top media adviser to the UK prime minister, David Cameron, was detained yesterday on suspicion of perjury in the trial of a flamboyant former Scottish parliamentarian.

Andy Coulson, 44, was detained by Scottish police at his home in London over an accusation related to a high-profile case at Glasgow's High Court, when politician Tommy Sheridan was himself convicted of offering a false account after he successfully sued the now-defunct News of The World tabloid over its claim that he was embroiled in a sex-and-drugs scandal.

Mr Coulson was editor of the tabloid when stories about Sheridan were published, and gave evidence in a 2010 trial which saw the Scottish legislator jailed for three years after a jury ruled he had committed perjury when he sued the newspaper.

In Scotland, which uses a different legal system to the rest of Britain, a suspect can be detained by police to answer questions before being formally arrested.

Glasgow's Strathclyde Police said Mr Coulson was detained "on suspicion of committing perjury at the High Court in Glasgow".

The police department said the case was tied to Operation Rubicon, a Scottish police investigation into allegations of phone hacking, breaches of data protection and perjury by newspapers. Those inquiries are running separately to major investigations by London police into newspaper malpractice.

Mr Coulson was arrested last year by London police in their investigation into phone hacking and is currently on police bail, meaning he must return to answer more questions over the allegations in the near future. He has also testified to the country's media ethics inquiry.

The former editor quit his post at the tabloid in 2007 after a reporter and a private investigator were jailed over phone hacking offences, but later the same year was appointed as communications director to Mr Cameron, then Britain's opposition chief.

Mr Coulson joined Mr Cameron in Downing Street after he won office in 2010, but quit in January 2011 amid new revelations about the extent over phone hacking at his former newspaper.