Oliver Duff

i Editor's Letter: Mr Mahmood has given subterfuge a bad name

 

Share

 

“There are strong grounds for believing Mr Mahmood told me lies.” With those words, Judge Alistair McCreath hammered a stake through one of the most successful and controversial journalists of his generation.

Dozens of scalps hang on the wall of Mazher Mahmood, the “Fake Sheikh” – not least the cricket spot-fixers four years ago – and Inspector Knacker has been happy to work with  him to bring prosecutions after his  stings. “Maz” once claimed to have brought 261 criminals to justice. (His employers could find evidence for only 94, still an impressive number.) But yesterday the drugs trial of the singer and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos collapsed, after the judge  said he thought prosecution witness  Mr Mahmood could not be trusted.

His methods have been questioned in the past – most notably following the acquittal of three men accused of  plotting to buy the fictitious substance “red mercury” to build a dirty bomb, as well as after the collapse of  the Beckham kidnap trial when it emerged that a key witness had been paid £10,000. But this is the first time  he’s been suspended by his employer, Rupert Murdoch’s News UK.

The Crown Prosecution Service will now consider whether or not to launch proceedings against him.

Despite his many successes, Mr Mahmood has given subterfuge a bad name, when it remains a vital and necessary investigative tool. The irony I suppose is that this Tulisa drugs sting was such a rubbish “story”. Celebrity agrees to help procure recreational narcotic lost its capacity to shock circa 1990.

****

See tomorrow’s i for a day-by-day guide to highlights of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. In other news, I’m delighted that i will carry a television column by  Grace Dent every Saturday, running in our Arts & Agenda section.

i@independent.co.uk

@olyduff

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week