Mazher Mahmood and Alan Smith have been convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice after they were found to have planned to change a statement given to police.
Mahmood, a journalist better known as the ‘Fake Sheikh’ for his high-profile celebrity stories, gave evidence to police which led to singer Tulisa Contostavlos being arrested and charged with being concerned in the supply of a class A drugs.
However the defendants agreed to alter a written statement Smith gave to police in order to remove material which could have helped Ms Contostavlos’ defence. This was revealed during her trial, which led to her acquittal on all charges, and to the prosecution of Mahmood and Smith for this offence.
Simon Ringrose, Specialist Prosecutor in CPS Special Crime Division, said:
“Mr Mahmood portrayed himself as the master of subterfuge and as the ‘King of the Sting’, but on this occasion it is he and Mr Smith who have been exposed. Mahmood and Smith tampered with a statement and then attempted to cover their tracks through lies and the destruction of evidence. By piecing together the various strands in this matter, the CPS was able to present a compelling case to the jury."