Sun reporter Mazher Mahmood to face trial charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice

Sun reporter Mazher Mahmood is to face trial accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The news comes 14 months after he was suspended from his job following the collapse of the Tulisa Contostavlos drugs trial.

Mahmood was accused by the trial judge in that case of giving misleading evidence.

The former News of the World investigations editor was suspended by his employer News UK which said at the time: "We are very disappointed with this outcome, but do believe the original investigation was conducted within the bounds of the law and the industry's code. This was demonstrated by the CPS decision to prosecute.

"The Sun, of course, takes the Judge's remarks very seriously. Mr Mahmood has been suspended pending an immediate internal investigation."

A statement issued by lawyers Kingsley Napley on behalf of Mahmood today said: "I am deeply disappointed that, after a totally unjustified delay, the Crown Prosecution Service have today informed me that they have decided to charge me with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. I deny the offence. I will vigorously contest it at court.  In the meantime I have nothing further to say."

Nick Vamos, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said: "The CPS has today, Tuesday 29 September, charged Mazher Mahmood and Alan Smith with conspiring to pervert the course of justice after a full file of evidence was submitted by the Metropolitan Police on 5 June this year.

"After carefully considering all of the evidence the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge both men. This decision comes after it was alleged that Mr Smith agreed with Mr Mahmood to change his statement to police as part of a trial in July 2014, and that Mr Mahmood then misled the court.

"Mazher Mahmood and Alan Smith will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 30 October.

"May I remind all concerned that both Mr Mahmood and Mr Smith have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings. For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for any further comment."

A spokesperson for News UK said: "We note the decision of the CPS to prosecute Mazher. We will now await the outcome of the criminal trial.  He remains suspended from The Sun."   

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