During Today’s Scottish Television lunchtime news Political Editor Bernard Ponsonby reported that Strathclyde police were to investigate allegations of phone hacking in Scotland. He concluded his piece (which can be seen Here ) by stating that that the “finger of suspicion” was pointing to Douglas Wight, a News of the World journalist and Crown witness during the Sheridan trial.
Unlike many of the witnesses in the case, Mr Wight was far from a household name, and reports of his testimony concentrated on his dealings with a Fiona McGuire and his denials that this was a sexual relationship (see Here ) However looking back at his testimony we can see he was specifically asked about possible involvement in illegal activities and his relationship with Greg Miskiw who is emerging as a key player in the unfolding News of the World “Hackgate” scandal.
The account we did at the time of the trial breaks Mr Wights testimony into three parts which can be read in full below. They key section though occurs in our report of part one of his evidence to the jury;
Mr Sheridan asked whether it was part of Mr Wight’s job to break the law, with Mr Wight replying that this was “not strictly true”, adding that he did not accept it to be true when Mr Sheridan repeated the question.
Mr Sheridan then asked whether the NoW was a newspaper that regarded itself as being above the law and that could make make payments to people to remain quiet about illegal activities. The witness replied he was not aware of any payment for illegal activities.
Mr Sheridan then asked specifically about Stephen Whittamore, whom the witnessed admitted using as he provided info that could help move stories on…the witness stating that Mr Whittamore was a resource used in general by the paper, but that he could not recall who had originally passed him the name of Mr Whittamore, but denied that it was Andy Coulson as he was not at the NoW at the time, and that it probably wasn’t Greg Miskiw either. Mr Sheridan finally asked what the witness knew of Mr Whittamore now, with the witness stating that he knew Mr Whittamore had been prosecuted for accessing data in breach of the data protection act.
It was revealed in court that requests for information from Mr Wight appeared in Mr Whitamore’s records 70 times.
Mr Wight was also discussed during the testimony of Andrew Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World who was arrested this morning on suspicion of involvement in phone hacking. Mr Coulson confirmed that he had appointed Douglas Wight as a features editor at the National News of the World, possibly at the recomendation of Bob Bird the newspaper’s Scottish editor.
Of course these are only allegations so far and Mr Wight is entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty. However does this new information open up more questions about the safety of conviction of Tommy Sheridan as a Crown Witness may told less that the whole truth to the High Court jury?