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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The old 1,000 Greek drachma notes and current 20 euros  

Greece debt crisis: History shows 'new drachma' is nothing to fear

Ben Chu
David Cameron leaves Number 10 to speak at Parliament  

Tunisia attack: To prevent more bloodshed we must accept that containment has not worked

Patrick Cockburn
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue