Belfast Telegraph

Tulisa Contostavlos in court for start of drugs trial

By Kate Ferguson

A jury has been sworn in for the trial of former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos who is accused of helping to broker a cocaine deal.

The former N-Dubz star allegedly helped to arrange the sale of half an ounce (13.9g) of the class A drug for £860 to the Sun on Sunday's undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood – dubbed the "fake sheikh" – between May 20 and 24 last year.

A jury of nine men and three women were sworn in at London's Southwark Crown Court to hear the case, which is expected to last just more than two weeks.

Before they were selected, jurors were asked if they had any connections to The Sun newspaper, The Sun on Sunday or the Sunday Times, or any other News UK enterprise "that would make it difficult for you to be objective and fair" in the case.

The court clerk read the charge and Contostavlos' not guilty plea out to the jurors.

Judge Alistair McCreath warned the jury not to discuss the case with anyone outside of the jury room and not to research it.

He said: "As you may have worked out by now, the defendant is somebody in the public eye.

"She was a professional singer and she had been a judge on the X Factor. She is somebody who is famous.

"The upshot of that is that if you do mention this case to anybody they are bound to say something about what they think."

Contostavlos (26), of Friern Barnet, north London, denies helping an undercover reporter to obtain 0.5oz (13.9g) of the class A drug for £860.

The jury were sent home for the day and will return this morning.

Belfast Telegraph


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