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'Fake Sheikh' reporter faces court over Tulisa trial 'conspiracy'

Published 03/12/2015

Driver Alan Smith is also accused
Driver Alan Smith is also accused

The undercover reporter known as the Fake Sheikh is due to appear in court today charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Mazher Mahmood, 52, is alleged to have misled the court during the collapsed drugs trial of pop star Tulisa Contostavlos.

The former News Of The World journalist, of Purley, Surrey, is accused with Alan Smith, 66, a retired driver from Dereham, Norfolk.

The charge states that between June 22 2014 and July 22 2014, Mahmood and Smith conspired together to do an act, namely that Smith would change a draft statement to police, with the intention to pervert the course of justice.

They are to have a preliminary hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London. Lawyers for both men indicated in a brief appearance at Westminster Magistrates' Court last month that they would plead not guilty.

The case had been due to be heard at the magistrates' court in October but was adjourned on "health grounds".

Ms Contostavlos, 27, went on trial after allegedly brokering a cocaine deal which featured in an expose in The Sun On Sunday following an investigation by Mahmood.

The former N-Dubz star and X Factor judge denied a charge of being concerned with the supply of class A drugs before a judge threw out the case at Southwark in July last year.

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.

News UK, which publishes The Sun, has said that Mahmood remains suspended from the newspaper.

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