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'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood drugs trial collapses

Tulisa Contostavlos Image copyright PA
Image caption The case against singer Tulisa Contostavlos collapsed in June

The trial of a man accused of drug dealing by reporter Mazher Mahmood, known as the Fake Sheikh, has collapsed.

Mr Mahmood was said to have received the drugs at the Metropolitan Hotel in Old Park Lane in a dry run for his sting on Tulisa Contostavlos.

Her trial collapsed in July after a judge said he thought Mr Mahmood had lied in giving evidence.

The case against Leon Anderson was thrown out at Southwark Crown Court.

Mr Anderson did not appear in court due to the short notice of the hearing and professional commitments in France.

The 28-year-old, from south-west London, is expected to be formally cleared next Friday of two counts of supplying a Class A drug.

'Above the law'

His co-accused Ashley Gordon, 22, from Romford, was formally cleared of two counts of possessing a Class A drug.

The case was thrown out by Judge Alistair McCreath, who presided over the case against Ms Contostavlos, a singer and former X Factor judge.

Quinn Hawkins, prosecuting, said: "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."

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 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."

It is the latest trial in which Mr Mahmood, who worked for The Sun on Sunday, The News of the World and The Sunday Times, 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.

Mr Mahmood claims to have helped secure more than 90 criminal convictions in a career spanning 30 years in newspapers.

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