‘Fake sheikh’ in real trouble after judge calls him a liar in Tulisa Contostavlos trial

Judge dubs 'fake sheikh' a liar in Tulisa trial
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court (Picture: Justin Tallis/PA Wire)

The career of ‘fake sheikh’ Mazher Mahmood is in jeopardy after a judge branded him a liar in court.

Mr Mahmood, known to his colleagues as ‘Maz’, has spent 25 years as an undercover reporter with everyone from celebrities to royals caught up in his exposes.

The star reporter was hailed as a bastion of good journalism by editor Rebekah Brooks when the News Of The World was accused of using ‘dark arts’ and phone hacking. She told the Old Bailey that Mr Mahmood was ‘an incredibly professional and good journalist on any newspaper’.

But Mr Mahmood, who claims to have helped put more than 100 criminals behind bars, is facing being investigated himself after judge Alistair McCreath told Southwark Crown Court he lied in a pre-trial hearing.

If convicted of perjury he might join some of those criminals he’s so proud of getting convicted.

He was responsible for a sting which alleged Tulisa Contostavlos arranged a cocaine deal through her friend Mike GLC. The story appeared in The Sun on Sunday in June last year but Mahmood has since been suspended by the paper.

Tulisa Contostavlos
Tulisa was visibly nervous before making her statement, in which she said she hoped fake sheikh Mazher Mahmood would be investigated (Picture: Justin Tallis/PA Wire)

A spokesman said: ‘We are very disappointed with this outcome but do believe the original investigation was conducted within the bounds of the law and the industry’s code.’

Contostavlos’s barrister Jeremy Dein QC claimed Mr Mahmood entrapped celebrities, bent the truth and invented sources to create ‘big-time, glamorous stories which enhance your reputation and the paper’.

Meanwhile, Simon Cowell’s lawyers have said claims about his private life made during the trial were ‘untrue’.

Gareth Varey, personal assistant to former X Factor judge Contostavlos, had suggested that Cowell was gay in a video played in court.

But Cowell’s legal team said in a statement: ‘In 2014, the question of whether someone is or is not gay is antiquated. (As it happens he isn’t, though if he were, he would simply have said so).’

Tulisa Contostavlos
Friends help Tulisa with her shoe as she arrives at the court (Picture: Justin Tallis/PA Wire)

Tulisa hugged her supporters when she was acquitted before giving a statement urging police to investigate Mr Mahmood to ‘put an end to his deceits’.

The former N-Dubz star said: ‘This whole case was a horrific and disgusting entrapment by Mazher Mahmood and The Sun on Sunday newspaper.

‘Mahmood has now been exposed by my lawyers openly lying to the judge and jury. I have not been able to work for a year and I am now looking forward to resuming my career.’

The trial ended after Judge Alistair McCreath told Southwark Crown Court he thought prosecution witness Mr Mahmood ‘deliberately lied’ in evidence at a pre-trial hearing.

Mr Mahmood said he had not seen a statement from his driver, Alan Smith, but admitted during the trial he had seen the statement.

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21 July 2014

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