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Why Is Mazher Mahmood Being Investigated By The Same People He Worked With?

November 14, 2014

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Suspended Sun on Sunday reporter Mazher Mahmood is being investigated by the same Crown Prosecution Service unit that signed off his now questionable cases in the first place.

Rather than call in a unit based outside London, the CPS Special Case Work are investigating Mahmood and effectively themselves, and its not clear if past Mahmood cases are being looked at – or just currant ones in the pipeline. So far 15 current cases have been dropped.

To understand it fully, one would have thought ALL historical Mahmood cases including convictions, acquittals and dropped cases would need reexamining independently, perhaps even an inquiry (with witnesses called), but so far, the CPS don’t seem to show the appetite to do either. Also questionable is after receiving a letter from lawyers for Mahmood, the Attorney General Jeremy Wright’s extraordinary intervention to persuade the BBC from airing their Panorama investigation into Mahmood – despite Mahmood not being arrested.

A letter written to BBC producer Meirion Jones working on Panorama was sent by the Attorney General’s office.

It said

The intention of the BBC to broadcast a Panorama programme on the activities of the reporter, Mazher Mahmood, has been drawn to the attention of the Attorney General by the solicitors acting for Mr Mahmood, Kingsley Napley. The Attorney General has asked me to write to you. The Attorney General recognised that as Mr Mahmood has not been arrested, the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 do not apply. Neverthess, he asks you to consider whether it is in the public interest for the BBC to broadcast a programme at this time. The proposed broadcast may have the potential to prejudice any trial, should Mr Mahmood be charged.

Indeed Mahmood has not been arrested, but he has been interviewed under caution in regards to the collapse of the Tulisa Constavlos case, even so, the intervention does raise eyebrows.

Further, Mahmood’s interview was conducted by the very same police force that have worked with Mahmood for over 20 years – Scotland Yard’s Metropolitian police force – instead of handing the case over to another outside force to investigate.

Mahmood was also interviewed under caution in 2005’s operation Conopus by the Metropolitan police after Kosovan Florim Gashi who Mahmood hired to set up and entrap targets had decided to confess all to the police. Panorama revealed Mahmood told police in his interview he had “..bent police officers who are witnesses, that are informers” but decided to drop the investigation citing Gashi as not a “convincing witness” and “insufficient evidence.”

This is important for two reasons:

1) If Scotland Yard were aware Mahmood had damaging and incriminating evidence against Met police officers, was that the reason they decided to drop the investigation into him – in layman’s term; like the CPS, is Scotland Yard compromised by Mahmood too?

2) If Gashi is not a “convincing witness”, how is it his evidence has been used in so many cases since including Constavlos, a libel, a quashing, and even the Leveson inquiry?

The Leveson inquiry avoided looking too closely at the relationship between the Metropolitan police and Rupert Murdoch’s News International – that was for part two of the inquiry. Two years later, that still hasn’t happened.

Both News UK (formerly News International) and Metropolitan police declined an invitation to appear on Wednesday night’s Newsnight after Panorama’s earlier broadcast where within hours after the programme, the Guardian reports that phone hacking lawyer Mark Lewis has been approached by at least six new potential victims on top of the eight he’s already been contacted by.

Bellingcat Investigation Team

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