The Scottish News of the World has failed in an attempt to have its appeal against MSP, Tommy Sheridan’s successful libel case against it postponed.
The Sunday newspaper is contesting a jury award of two hundred thousand pounds over stories which claimed the MSP visited a swinger’s club in Manchester and cheated on his wife.
But it says it has been asked by police to stay away from witnesses and this is making it impossible to prepare properly for an appeal hearing planned for December.
Lothian and Borders is said to have asked the newspaper’s lawyers police to back off witnesses for fear it may hinder their own investigations.
Yesterday, Alistair Clarke, counsel for the newspaper’s publishers, went to court to ask Lord Gill, sitting with Lords Osborne and Macfadyen, to abandon an appeal hearing set for the end of the year. According to a report by the Press Association, the lawyer said waiting for the police inquiries to finish would not give his client time to prepare for the appeal.
“We will be hamstrung if we comply with the police request,” he is quoted.
Lord Gill turned down the newspaper publishers’ request for a delay but ordered another procedural hearing in September to review the situation.
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