Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Singer, Focus of Mahmood Evidence, Says She May Sue

Tulisa Contostavlos, the singer accused of drug dealing based on evidence supplied by "fake sheikh" Mazher Mahmood, says she may sue him in civil court now that the case against her has collapsed. Mr. Justice McCreath halted the trial when he decided that the evidence Mr. Mahmood had presented to him was too tainted to allow the case to proceed.  Roy Greenslade,  a Guardian commentator, has quoted Mr. McCreath's ruling here. The judge says in part:

 

It should not be forgotten that Mr Mahmood is the sole progenitor of this case; the sole investigator; the sole prosecution witness; a man who has exercised his journalistic privilege to create a situation in which the identities of others involved in the investigation are unknown to the defence (or the prosecution or even to me); someone who appears to have gone to considerable lengths to get Ms Contostavlos to agree to involve herself in criminal conduct, certainly to far greater lengths than would have been regarded as appropriate had he been a police investigator.

None of that, taken on its own or taken together, was sufficient to allow me as a matter of law to halt this case. But there now must be added to the miix two very important factors.

First, there are strong grounds for believing that Mr Mahmood told me lies when he gave evidence to me on the 27th of June.

Secondly, 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.

Mr. Mahmood, a Sun newspaper reporter, has used his "fake sheikh" disguise over the years in undercover investigations. The paper has now suspended him, pending investigation. More here from Reuters.

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