Tulisa Contostavlos drugs charge latest: Former X Factor judge makes first crown court appearance in London
Contostavlos will stand trial on 14 July accused of brokering a cocaine deal, after helping an undercover reporter to obtain 13.9 grams
Tulisa Contostavlos made her first appearance at crown court today.
The former X Factor judge, 25, arrived at Southwark Crown Court alongside rapper Mike GLC, real name Michael Coomes, 35, for a 10-minute preliminary hearing.
She was told that she will stand trial on 14 July accused of brokering a cocaine deal, after helping an undercover reporter to obtain 13.9 grams of the Class A drug for £860.
Contostavlos, of Friern Barnet, north London, has denied the charges, saying she was not “concerned with the supply of 13.9 grams of cocaine” to The Sun on Sunday journalist Mazher 'fake sheikh' Mahmood between May 20 and May 24.
Coombs also denies a charge of supplying the drug on 23 May.
During the hearing, they spoke only to confirm their names and that they understood the current timetable.
A case management hearing will take place on 27 March.
The pair are on unconditional bail.
Contostavlos and Coombs were remanded in custody on 4 June, after they went to a police station in central London by appointment. She was officially charged on Monday 9 December.
Tulisa’s lawyer, Ben Rose of Hickman and Rose, released the following statement regarding his client:
“Tulisa has been charged with a serious criminal offence to which she will plead not guilty.
“As has been widely reported, this entire case has been manufactured by the Sunday Sun and Mazher Mahmood, sometimes known as the fake sheikh. They spent a large amount of their readers’ money in flying Tulisa and a number of her friends first class to Las Vegas. There, Mahmood posed as a film producer offering her a £3million film contract.
“This case is not simply about drug supply. It is about the limits which we set on the conduct of journalists. The media have rightly been criticised in recent years for the gross invasion into the private life of others. Tulisa is the latest in a long line of people who have been treated as fodder by greedy newspapers. This was a deliberate attempt to target a young woman who is all the more vulnerable because of her celebrity status.
“The law clearly forbids such conduct on the part of the police. It is ironic that the police should rely on it when it is the work of a journalist.
“In due course Tulisa will give a full answer to these allegations in court.”
Baljit Ubhey, CPS London Chief Crown Prosecutor, confirmed earlier today: “The Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised the Metropolitan Police Service to charge Tulisa Contostavlos, 25, with being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.”
“This charge relates to an investigation by The Sun newspaper between early March 2013 and 23 May 2013 which resulted in the supply of Class A drugs to an investigative journalist.
“This decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.
“Ms Contostavlos will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 19 December 2013.”
The Sun On Sunday reported that half an ounce of cocaine changed hands as a result of the deal which it said was conducted at London's Dorchester Hotel earlier this year.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed at the time: “We have received information concerning the alleged supply of illegal drugs at a central London location.
”We are considering the information received.“
The singer - who found fame with N-Dubz - was officially dropped as a judge on The X Factor following the arrest, with Sharon Osbourne returning to the show in her place.
The star - whose debut solo album made it to only number 35 in the charts - said that she did not take the drug herself.
Contostavlos last year won an apology from a former boyfriend who leaked footage on to the internet of the two of them performing a sex act.
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