And so Mazher Mahmood, aka the Fake Sheikh, returned to face the music yesterday morning at the Old Bailey, where he not only remained guilty of Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice, or in plain English lying, but was sent down for 15 months for his trouble. So he’ll be swapping the luxury hotels for the kind Her Majesty runs.
Try not to slip on the soap, Maz
Sadly for Maz, he has also had his employment with the Murdoch empire terminated, a terrible fall from grace for one of Rebekah Brooks’, and, it is rumoured, Rupert Murdoch’s confidantes. And it is that closeness to the heart of power that may now be troubling the Murdoch mafiosi, although they have now cut him loose: they not only tolerated his behaviour, but by using his stories they also endorsed and encouraged it.
Mazher Mahmood’s back catalogue, which the News UK eulogy quotes so approvingly, includes many cases that are now set to result in compensation claims totalling potentially hundreds of millions of Pounds. But the Murdoch goons have merely told “Mazher has led scores of successful investigations during his 25-year career with the company. His work has led to the exposure of criminality and wrongdoing. It is a source of great regret that his time with the company should end in this manner”.
Yeah, terrible that he got sacked because when he tried to pull another of his stings on singer Tulisa Contostavlos, he got caught lying. How many more times did he do that? Where was News UK’s oversight of his activities - or, more likely, the lack of it? News UK has simply told “We have noted the threats made after Mazher’s conviction of civil claims against this company in relation to his previous work. Should such claims be brought, they will be vigorously defended”. But they aren’t threats - they’re happening. Very soon.
On top of that, several cases where convictions obtained using Maz’ unique, er, methods are being re-examined. Those include the sting that ended the career of actor John Alford, someone whose potential ruin Maz and his pals were caught on camera laughing about. Finishing a career was all a big game for them.
And what none of the mainstream media outlets want to tell right now is that Maz’ criminality, coupled with what we already know about phone hacking, blagging and the rest of The Dark Arts - especially the relationship between organisations like the Murdoch empire and the Police - makes the need for Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry paramount. The public needs to know just how these organisations have been cooperating.
Meanwhile, Mazher Mahmood can sit back and count the days to when he will be released back into the community to count his blessings - and the millions he stashed away helping to flog papers and mess up other peoples’ lives - knowing that for those in his profession there is always a way back. We know this as Nick Parker, who wrote yesterday’s already-infamous attack on Gary Lineker, is a convicted criminal.
What, one wonders, is it about News UK that causes hacks and criminals to mix so freely? I’ll just leave that one there.