Belfast Telegraph

Tulisa loses assault case appeal

By Staff Reporter

Tulisa Contostavlos' conviction for assaulting a celebrity blogger at a music festival was upheld today after she appealed against it.

The former X Factor judge, 26, was convicted last year of hitting Savvas Morgan during an altercation at V-Festival in Chelmsford in August 2013.

She said at the trial that Mr Morgan had a "strange obsession" with her and conducted a ''vendetta'' against her after an incident in which she asked security to remove him from a VIP area at the Whisky Mist nightclub in London's Mayfair.

The former N-Dubz singer also outlined her suspicions that he was involved in the release of a sex tape of her online.

Today Judge David Radford at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court said: "We find that she did strike Mr Morgan."

Tulisa shook her head and fought tears as it became clear the verdict would go against her.

Judge Radford, sitting with two magistrates, said that a security guard who saw the incident was "undoubtedly independent" and made clear that he saw the star strike a blow on Mr Morgan.

A woman had also said that what she saw was consistent with a blow having been struck.

The judge said Tulisa had accepted she became verbally aggressive.

"We find she was not calm, this was a lack of self control - the reasons, we understand - and for a brief moment, we find that she did strike Mr Morgan, before very speedily the incident was brought to an end."

Circumstantial evidence also supported the Crown's case, the judge said. "It is entirely logical so far as what might be expected to happen given the circumstances of the argument, and the previous history between the parties, that that brief excess of lack of control took place."

Tulisa's assistant, Gareth Varey, was cleared at magistrates court of using threatening behaviour during the incident, which happened at the V Festival in Chelmsford in the early hours of August 18 2013.

The prosecution case was that, when Mr Morgan was leaving the festival site, he found himself to be following Tulisa and her friends, including Mr Varey.

It was suggested that former Sugababes star Mutya Buena was with the group and called back to Mr Morgan to ask him to join them.

But Tulisa angrily told him to stop following her. She then raised her fists in the air and hit him in the face.

District Judge Angus Hamilton said at Stratford: "I am quite sure to the requisite standard of proof, based on my analysis of the evidence that I have heard, that Ms Contostavlos did strike Mr Morgan in the face during an argument and that that blow caused minor bruising and swelling.''

Mr Morgan has joined the cast of ITV2 series The Only Way Is Essex.

Tulisa, of Royal Drive, Friern Barnet, north London, was ordered at Stratford Magistrates Court last year to pay a total of £3,020 after she was convicted of assault . This followed a trial at Chelmsford Magistrates Court. The financial penalty consisted of a £2,700 contribution towards the cost of the prosecution, a £200 fine, £100 compensation to Mr Morgan and a £20 victim surcharge.

Today the fine was changed to a conditional discharge for 12 months, the compensation payment to Mr Morgan was scrapped, and the victim surcharge was cut to £15.

The prosecution costs from the magistrates court remain, plus £1,500 for the costs of the appeal.

Tulisa managed a wan smile as she left the court building, but did not comment.

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