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Police force allows comments and likes on Facebook page - May-31-12
Source: The Telegraph (Telegraph Staff)
David Cameron's former communications chief was detained for questioning at Govan police station in Glasgow on Wednesday by officers from Strathclyde Police.
The force's Facebook page announced the arrest of a 44-year-old man, saying he had been arrested and charged with perjury.
A number of comments were posted on the site while more than 40 people indicated that they "like" it.
One of them was indicated as Lynn Sheridan. Mr Coulson's arrest centres on claims about phone hacking he made during his evidence at Tommy Sheridan's trial in 2010. The politician has a sister called Lynn.
Another person commenting on the page wrote: "is 'liking' this a possible contempt of court...?"
Strathclyde Police Facebook Page
After announcing Mr Coulson's arrest and charge, the force said a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal which will decide whether he is to face court proceedings.
The former News of the World editor was detained in London on Wednesday morning by Strathclyde Police and arrived at Govan Police Station in the south side of Glasgow later that afternoon.
The 44-year-old gave evidence in Sheridan's perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow in December 2010.
Operation Rubicon detectives have been looking at whether certain witnesses lied to the court during Sheridan's trial as part of a "full" investigation into phone hacking in Scotland.
Sheridan was ultimately jailed for three years in January last year after being found guilty of perjury during his 2006 defamation action against the News of the World.
He had been awarded £200,000 in damages after winning the civil case but a jury at the High Court in Glasgow found him guilty of lying about the now-defunct tabloid's claims that he was an adulterer who visited a swingers' club.
The trial, which lasted almost 12 weeks, was one of the longest of its kind in Scottish legal history.
The former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) leader represented himself after parting company with QC Maggie Scott.
He was convicted of five out of six allegations in a single charge of perjury relating to his evidence during the civil action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
His wife Gail was on trial along with him but was acquitted of lying to the court during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.
He was released from jail in January after serving one year of his sentence and vowed to continue the fight to clear his name.
Today, Strathclyde police defended its Facebook posting.
A spokeswoman for the force said the announcement was posted on Facebook because it was “another way of letting the public know about the arrest”.
She said the force was receiving inquiries from members of the international media who were “not in our systems for updating them”.
Asked about the comments and likes she said: “I suppose people are just expressing their opinion.”
The spokeswoman said there was no mechanism on Facebook for disabling comments and likes and the force was “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea” as it would have been “irresponsible” not to have put the update on the site.
She said the police had not been contacted by the Crown Office with any concerns about a potential contempt of court.
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