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.

READ MORE: FAKE SHEIKH DENIES SPIKING TULISA'S DRINK
FAKE SHEIKH' GIVEN COURT PRIVACY BEHIND SCREEN
RAPPER MIKE GLC ADMITS TO SUPPLYING COCAINE

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.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Management Trainer

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Scientist / Research Assistant

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Trustees

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game