Business News Legal Media

Fake Sheikh to stand trial after collapse of Tulisa drugs case

By | Published on Wednesday 30 September 2015


Former undercover reporter for The Sun and News Of The World, Mazher Mahmood, better known as The Fake Sheikh, has been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. This relates to claims that he misled the court during the trial of Tulisa Contostavlos on drugs charges.

As previously reported, Contostavlos was put on trial accused of doing a deal to supply cocaine during a sting operation led by Mahmood as part of a Sun On Sunday investigation. However, the trial collapsed when the judge presiding accused Mahmood, who had given evidence against the one time N-Dubz member, of “serious misconduct to the point that the integrity of the court would be compromised by allowing the trial to go ahead”.

It was claimed that there were inconsistencies in statements Mahmood had made to the court between a pre-trial hearing and the main trial. These related specifically to statements made by Contostavlos and overheard by the journalist’s driver Alan Smith, which led the judge to believe that Mahmood had been “manipulating the evidence”.

Both Mahmood and Smith are now due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 30 Oct to answer charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

In a statement, Nick Vamos, Deputy Head of Special Crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “After carefully considering all of the evidence the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge both men. This decision comes after it was alleged that Mr Smith agreed with Mr Mahmood to change his statement to police as part of a trial in July 2014, and that Mr Mahmood then misled the court”.

Mahmood was suspended by The Sun following the collapse of Contostavlos’s trial last year. And he remains so, a spokesperson for the tabloid’s publisher News UK confirmed yesterday.