On 29 September 2015, it emerged that the Fake Sheikh – aka Mazher Mahmood – has been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. His driver, Alan Smith, has been similarly charged.
Mahmood is a former News of the World reporter who claims to have been involved in sting operations resulting in the conviction of over 100 people.
What – allegedly – happened?
Readers will no doubt remember Tulisa Contostavlos and her troubles with the law. In 2014, Tulisa was tried in respect of an offence of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug, namely cocaine. The allegation was that she had “brokered” a deal through her friend “Mike GLC” to supply cocaine to another.
The trial was stopped by the judge, HHJ Alastair McCreath, after concerns arose in relation to Mahmood and Smith’s evidence. Smith gave a statement but then, it was suggested, changed his evidence at Mahmood’s behest. The evidence appears to have been in relation to a conversation Tulisa had with another in relation to drugs. The initial statement was said to have suggested that the singer spoke disapprovingly about the use of drugs, whereas subsequently Smith was said to have changed his account.
The judge said:
“Where there has been some aspect of the investigation or prosecution of a crime which is tainted in some way by serious misconduct to the point that the integrity of the court would be compromised by allowing the trial to go ahead, in that sense the court would be seen to be sanctioning or colluding in that sort of behaviour, then the court has no alternative but to say ‘This case must go no further’.”
The judge stated that he considered that Mahmood had lied in a hearing prior to the beginning of the trial.
Mahmood made a short statement:
“I deny the offence. I will vigorously contest it at court. In the meantime I have nothing further to say.”
Mahmood and Smith will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 30 October 2015.