Tulisa demands police investigation of ‘Fake Sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood after drugs trial collapses

Judge Alistair McCreath’s comments raise the prospect of Mahmood being investigated for perjury or perverting the course of justice

Media Editor

Tulisa Contostavlos, the singer and former judge on television show The X-Factor, has demanded a police investigation of the undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood after a judge sensationally ended a trial in which she was encouraged to obtain drugs for the so-called “Fake Sheikh”.

Mahmood, who works for the Sun on Sunday, has been suspended by his employer News UK, pending an internal investigation after a judge at Southwark Crown Court said there were “strong grounds for believing” that the journalist “told me lies when he gave evidence”.

Calling an end to the proceedings, Judge Alistair McCreath, who also suggested the reporter may have been “manipulating the evidence”, said: “It should not be forgotten that Mr Mahmood is: the sole progenitor of this case; the sole investigator; the sole prosecution witness.”

The judge’s comments raise the prospect of Mahmood being investigated for perjury or perverting the course of justice.

Video: The Independent's Adam Sherwin on the Tulisa trial

The case was based on a sting by The Sun on Sunday in which Contostavlos was approached by journalists posing as film producers and flown to Los Angeles and Las Vegas on the promise of a lead role in a film with Leonardo DiCaprio. The paper published its findings in a front page “World Exclusive” under the headline “Tulisa’s Cocaine Deal Shame” on 2 June.

“This case only happened because Mahmood and his team tricked me into believing I was auditioning for a major movie role,” said the singer in a statement. 

“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 it as evidence when I thought it was an audition. It was a terrible thing to do.”


She called for police action against the journalist. “I urge both 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.”

Ms Contostavlos’s lawyer Ben Rose said the Crown Prosecution Service should not have brought the case. “I’m disappointed that they failed to listen to the many representations we made to them that this was not a proper use of the Criminal Justice System.”

The judge’s decision meant that her friend, the musician Michael Coombs, known as Mike GLC, was also cleared by the court despite having pleading guilty to supplying cocaine.

Contostavlos came to fame in the London group N-Dubz, which she formed with her cousin Dappy. Helped by her TV success, she signed a publishing deal in 2012 for an autobiography in which told how she was drugged and sexually abused when she was 16 and involved in a girl gang. She said she has not been able to work for a year because of the Sun on Sunday sting.


The damning criticism of the high-profile tabloid reporter’s behaviour in court could have repercussions for press regulation as the new Independent Press Standards Organisation, under former Appeal Court judge Sir Alan Moses, prepares to start operating in September.

Press reformers group seized on the collapsed trial to suggest that the newspaper publishers could not be trusted to set up their own regulatory system. Joan Smith, Hacked Off’s Executive Director, said: “What has happened in this case explodes the self-serving myth propagated by some in the press industry that, when the News of the World closed, newspaper malpractice was ended.”

The case collapsed on the basis of evidence provided on oath by Mahmood in June in relation to discussions the reporter may have had with his driver Alan Smith, who gave a police statement saying Ms Contostavlos had told him that a member of her family had a drug problem and she “disapproved of drugs”.

Mahmood told the judge he had no discussion with the driver about this.

But as the judge halted proceedings today he said: “When [Mahmood] gave evidence last week, he was asked questions on the same topic and gave answers which were entirely inconsistent with his earlier evidence.”

Discussing Mahmood’s behaviour, the judge said: “There are 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.”

A spokesman for The Sun said: “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.”

It is understood that there is at least one further case based on a Mahmood sting due to come before the courts. Mr Rose, of London solicitor Hickman & Rose, said he had already been contacted by several people who claim they were unfairly convicted on the basis of investigations by Mahmood.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living