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Tulisa drugs trial collapses due to “serious misconduct” by Sun’s ‘fake sheikh’

By | Published on Tuesday 22 July 2014


Tulisa Contostavlos’s trial on drugs charges dramatically collapsed yesterday, after the judge called into question evidence The Sun’s Mazher Mahmood, aka ‘the fake sheikh’, had given in a pre-trial hearing last month.

In a statement yesterday, Judge Alistair McCreath accused Mahmood of “serious misconduct to the point that the integrity of the court would be compromised by allowing the trial to go ahead”.

Mahmood was asked late last month about his knowledge of comments made by Contostavlos about her “disapproval of drugs” overheard by his driver Alan Smith. At the time he denied any knowledge of these comments, though when they came up again during the trial last week he gave testimony “entirely inconsistent with his earlier evidence”.

McCreath continued by saying that there were “strong grounds for believing that Mr Mahmood told me lies when he gave evidence to me on the 27th of June” and that there were “also strong grounds for believing that the underlying purpose of these lies was to conceal the fact that he had been manipulating the evidence in this case by getting Mr Smith to change his account”.

He added that “armed with the knowledge that I now have … this case cannot go any further”. The result is that, not only has Contostavlos’s case been entirely thrown out of court, but so too has that of Michael Coombs, aka Mike GLC, who last week pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine to the undercover reporter.

Had the trial gone forward, McCreath explained that the defence would have said that Contostavlos had only agreed to procure drugs for Mahmood because she believed that appearing to be “a street-wise woman, familiar with and to some extent involved in drugs” would help her to gain a lucrative role in a Bollywood film, which she believed she was in line for. However, she had never actually intended to go through with the deal, but found herself trapped in a role as Mahmood continued to ask her to carry out her promise.

Coombes, it would have been argued, only completed the deal “out of a misplaced desire on his part to help her out of her dilemma”, and Contostavlos had not been aware that this transaction had taken place.

In a statement outside the court, the singer said: “Let me be perfectly clear. I have never dealt drugs and never been involved in taking or dealing cocaine. This whole case was a horrific and disgusting entrapment by Mazher Mahmood and The Sun On Sunday newspaper”.

Explaining her defence further, she said: “This case only happened because Mahmood and his team tricked me into believing I was auditioning for a major movie role. They targeted me at a time when things were going badly for me and they had no mercy. Mahmood got me and my team completely intoxicated and persuaded me to act the part of a bad, rough, ghetto girl. They recorded this and produced this as evidence when I thought it was an audition. It was a terrible thing to do”.

She added that her life had been “ruined for the last year”, in part because she has “not been able to work”, and urged “both the police and News UK to investigate Mazher Mahmood and his team and to put an end to his deceit in pursuit of sensational stories for commercial gain”.

Following the events in the courtroom, it was announced that Mahmood had been suspended from The Sun, a spokesperson for the newspaper saying in a statement: “We are very disappointed with this outcome, but do believe the original investigation was conducted within the bounds of the law and the industry’s code. This was demonstrated by the CPS decision to prosecute. The Sun, of course, takes the Judge’s remarks very seriously. Mr Mahmood has been suspended pending an immediate internal investigation”.

Although Judge McCreath did not comment on this in his statement, it has also been suggested that Mahmood could now face perjury charges.

Contostavlos, meanwhile, is due to hear the ruling on separate assault charges later this week.