Saturday 25 November 2017

X-Factor's Tulisa loses bid to sue over 'shabby sting'

Tulisa Contostavlos
Tulisa Contostavlos

Tim Healy

Singer and former 'X-Factor' judge Tulisa has lost a bid to sue a newspaper over what a court heard was a "shabby sting operation" which saw her named in connection with drugs.

The 24-year-old failed yesterday to get permission to extend the time limit for bringing a High Court defamation action against the 'Irish Sun' over an article in June 2013.

Under the 2009 Defamation Act, an action must be initiated within a year of publication, but can be extended in exceptional circumstances.

She claimed she was set up in a sting operation where it was allegedly suggested she audition for a €3.5m Hollywood lead film role. She has alleged that she was taken in and believed she would get the part if she presented herself as a streetwise person who knew about drugs.

The singer claimed in court documents she was told she was being considered for the main role in a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

"I fell hook, line and sinker for what I now know was a sting operation," the singer, whose full name is Tulisa Contostavlos, said in an affidavit.

She claimed she was asked if she could get cocaine and, "foolishly because I believed it was necessary to secure the part", said she would be able to get some.

She said she had "never taken cocaine" and asked a friend to pretend to be a drug dealer. She said her career was destroyed as a result of the newspaper sting.

Ms Contostavlos, who was not in court and is based in London, had been "cruelly deceived in a shabby sting operation", the president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said.

There was no doubt it had caused her grave upset, but he was astounded legal proceedings were not initiated more rapidly. He refused to extend the 12-month limit for bringing the case.

The court heard the singer had been arrested within days of an article appearing in the 'Irish Sun' in June 2013 with a headline "She Scores" and referred to "The dark side of Tulisa".

She was charged with intent to supply a class A drug, but in June 2014 all charges against her were struck out.

It is understood she is now considering an appeal of the High Court decision.

Irish Independent

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