A police officer was “surprised” at being told Tulisa Contostavlos had made anti-drugs comments during a Sun newspaper sting, a court heard.
Journalist Mazher Mahmood, 53, and his “right-hand man” Alan Smith (pictured) are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of tampering with evidence in the pop star’s collapsed drugs trial.
Contostavlos had allegedly arranged for the Sun undercover reporter to be sold half an ounce of cocaine by one of her contacts for £800.
After a meeting with Mahmood at the Metropolitan Hotel in Park Lane, London, in May 2013, Smith drove her home to Hertfordshire.
According to Contostavlos, she had talked in the car about an unnamed member of her family with a drug problem.
Smith, 67, included her disapproval of hard drugs in his initial statement to Detective Constable Andrew Nicklin on June 23 2014.
But the next day, he retracted that part of his statement as it was favourable to Contostavlos’s defence, the court has heard.
Giving evidence, the officer told jurors how he drafted Smith’s statement following a 21-minute telephone call with him.
He called Smith back later that evening to go through it “line by line”, the court heard.
Det Con Nicklin told jurors that as he read it, Smith confirmed it by saying “yes, yes, yes, repeatedly”.
Prosecutor Sarah Forshaw QC asked: “Were you expecting Mr Smith to tell you that Tulisa appeared to be anti-drugs on the journey?”
He replied: “Not at all.”
The lawyer went on: “So when you took down what it was he was saying at the time, did it occur to you that it was quite relevant?”
Det Con Nicklin said: “Yes. I was surprised. There had been no doubt on that part of his statement.”
He added that it was the “most significant part” of his statement to police about the events of May 2013.
A month after taking Smith’s statement, the officer was asked to make his own statement outlining his memories of their conversation, the court heard.
In his draft document, the officer had recalled Smith remarking to him: “I know it doesn’t help your case”.
He told jurors that the comment was not included in his original notes because it “did not seem relevant at the time”.
And he removed it from his final statement because, he said: “I was not satisfied I could recall the wording of what was said.”
Mahmood, of Purley, south London, and Smith, from Dereham, Norfolk, deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice.