Fake Sheikh charged after collapse of Tulisa drugs trial

Updated: 

The undercover reporter known as the "Fake Sheikh" has been charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice after the collapse of the drugs trial of pop star Tulisa Contostavlos.

Mazher Mahmood is alleged to have misled the court, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

The 52-year-old is charged alongside Alan Smith, 66, a retired driver from Norfolk. They will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on October 30.

In a statement issued through his lawyers, Mahmood said: "I am deeply disappointed that, after a totally unjustified delay, the Crown Prosecution Service have today informed me that they have decided to charge me with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

"I deny the offence. I will vigorously contest it at court. In the meantime I have nothing further to say."

Nick Vamos, deputy head of Special Crime at the CPS, said the charges were brought against the pair after a file of evidence was submitted by Scotland Yard in June.

He added: "After carefully considering all of the evidence, the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge both men.

"This decision comes after it was alleged that Mr Smith agreed with Mr Mahmood to change his statement to police as part of a trial in July 2014, and that Mr Mahmood then misled the court."

Former N-Dubz star Ms Contostavlos, 27, went on trial last year after allegedly brokering a cocaine deal which featured in an expose in The Sun on Sunday in June 2013 following an investigation by Mahmood.

She denied a charge of being concerned with the supply of class A drugs.

In July last year a judge threw out the case at Southwark Crown Court.

Ms Contostavlos's rapper friend Mike GLC was also cleared despite admitting supplying half an ounce (13.9g) of the drug.

Mahmood spent 25 years as an undercover reporter and claimed to have helped put more than 100 criminals behind bars.

A spokeswoman for News UK, which publishes The Sun, said Mahmood remains suspended from the newspaper.

She added: "We note the decision of the CPS to prosecute Mazher. We will now await the outcome of the criminal trial."


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