Thursday, March 4, 1999 Published at 11:41 GMT
Charges dropped against Aitken friend
Jonathan Aitken: On remand awaiting sentence
Criminal charges against Said Ayas, a friend of former Conservative cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, have been dropped.
After the prosecution offered no evidence, the judge Mr Justice Potts entered verdicts of not guilty on the two charges against Mr Ayas.
Outside the Old Bailey in London, Mr Ayas said: "I am very relieved. It has been a very stressful time."
Aitken's guilty plea
Aitken has always denied the charge but last month admitted perjury during his High Court action.
He also pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of public justice by drafting a witness statement for his daughter Victoria which he knew was false and submitting it to the High Court.
Aitken, 56, had denied charges alleging conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of public justice.
The former cabinet minister has been remanded for sentence until June. Mr Ayas, 56, a former business associate of Aitken, was also charged with doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of public justice between 1995 and 1997. He had denied both charges he faced.
Mr Aitken's solicitor said later it involved veins and blood vessels bursting behind one of his eyes.
It caused "an immediate severe loss of vision in his left eye together with discomfort and headaches", said Mr Coleman. "Mr Aitken is still convalescing but it is anticipated and hoped by those close to him that he will make a full recovery."