Another 'Fake Sheikh' case dropped
The trial of a fixer to the stars accused of being a drug dealer by 'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood has collapsed after the reporter allegedly lied in the trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos.
PR man Leon "Starino" Anderson was arrested after The Sun ran an article claiming he dealt £300 worth of cocaine and MDMA.
Controversial reporter Mr Mahmood was said to have received the drugs at the Metropolitan Hotel in London's upmarket Old Park Lane on May 10 last year in a "dry run" for his Tulisa sting.
Just hours later at the same hotel, he picked up drugs in a deal he claimed was set up by former X Factor judge Tulisa.
Mr Anderson, who was said to be friends with a string of "unsuspecting celebrities" including pop stars Rihanna and Chris Brown, was due to stand trial for supplying drugs.
His alleged co-conspirator Ashley Gordon, 21, was charged with two counts of possessing just over one gramme of cocaine and one gramme of MDMA.
But the case collapsed at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court before Judge Alistair McCreath, who also threw out the case against Tulisa, after prosecutors said Mr Mahmood was not reliable.
Quinn Hawkins, prosecuting, said: "As My Lord knows, having presided over the Contostavlos case, the position is that Mazher Mahmood gave evidence on two occasions in that case which tended to contradict itself."
Judge McCreath replied: "Just a bit, yes."
Mr Hawkins added: "The position is that the Crown can no longer rely on Mr Mahmood as a witness of truth in this case, and for that reason, I offer no evidence against Mr Gordon on behalf of the Crown."
Mr Anderson did not appear in court due to the short notice of the hearing and professional commitments in France.
However, the prosecution said the case will be formally dropped against Mr Anderson, of Colliers Wood, north London at a hearing next Friday, October 3.
Dismissing the matter, Judge McCreath addressed Mr Gordon and said: "The case against you is over. You are acquitted and free to go."
Outside court, Mr Gordon, of Romford, east London lashed out at the press. He said: "I don't think I have any views on Mazher Mahmood, I would say the media and press in general think they are above the law.
"This court has seen many cases which show they think they are above the law."
Dismissing the Tulisa case in July, Judge McCreath gave a damning ruling saying there were "strong grounds" to believe Mr Mahmood "told me lies" and had been "manipulating the evidence".
Mr Mahmood claims to have helped secure more than 90 criminal convictions in a career spanning 30 years.
But he was suspended by The Sun following the collapse of the Tulisa trial and could face criminal charges for perjury.
This the latest case in which Mr Mahmood was set to be a witness which has been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
The cases against doctor Majeed Ridha and pharmacist Murtaza Gulamhusein, who were accused of selling abortion pills, have also been dropped.