Former East 17 singer Brian Harvey has been cleared of drugs charges which were brought following an investigation carried out by a national newspaper.
Not guilty verdicts were recorded on all charges
Mr Harvey, 27, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, more than a year after being arrested and charged with supplying and possessing cocaine.
The case collapsed when the prosecution offered no evidence.
The court heard the key witness, Kemal Zorba - who had been paid £15,000 by the News of the World - was refusing to attend court to give any evidence in any subsequent trial.
Barry Gilbert, prosecuting, told the court: "Everything has been considered not the least of which was the position and attitude of the witness Zorba.
'Lesson to newspapers'
"The whole matter has been reviewed and the prosecution took the view that the right thing to do is offer no evidence against Mr Harvey."
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth formally entered not guilty verdicts on the supply and possession charges and told Mr Harvey: "You leave this court without a stain on your character."
The judge criticised the News of the World after being told Mr Zorba had left the country with the money he had been paid by the newspaper.
"May this be a salutary lesson to the proprietors of that newspaper," he said.
Stephen Ferguson, for Mr Harvey, said his client had been arrested 12-months ago solely because of the article in the News of the World.
He said: "We invite the Crown Prosecution Service locally and beyond to conduct a root and branch investigation into why this matter was prosecuted in the first place."
Outside court, Mr Harvey said: "I have maintained my innocence for the last 12 months and still do today."