The Ballad Of Pete And Pete (And Michael)

Three legal stories of interest this week:

Pete Doherty Outside Court
Pete Doherty Is a Free Man
After pleading guilty to a total of seven charges of possessing illegal substances at three separate court appearances last month, our humble hero was miraculously spared the jail time that many expected, and instead was sentenced to a very lenient twelve month community order, and ordered to take part in a rehabilitation programme. The year-long rehab programme will require Pete to attend a drug centre and submit to monthly checks. He was warned by the Magistrate that failure to comply with that programme could lead to a custodial sentence.

Pete had been held in custody since being arrested by plain clothes police officers in Whitechapel, east London, on 26 January. After the sentencing, Pete spoke to BBC Radio 1 about kicking his legendary habit: "As far as the drugs are concerned, it's simple – I’d rather be on the out with no smack than inside prison with no smack." He also said, "as far as the crack and heroin are concerned...I’m getting an implant in four days."

Pete also spoke of his most recent stay behind bars, angrily noting: "What do you think I’ve been doing for the last 12 days? Picking Tulips? I’ve been sat in a cell sweating it out, fully aware of the circumstances. But I’ve also been with murderers, on occasions a couple of brick walls away from paedophiles. I’m not a threat to society, I’m not selling drugs to anyone’s children. I’m not encouraging or ever will encourage people to take drugs." But when he was asked if he was currently on drugs, Pete replied slyly: "Right now?" He then hung up on the interview.

Pete Burns in Fur Coat
Pete Burns Will Not Be Prosecuted
The Crown also announced this week that Dead or Alive singer and Celebrity Big Brother freak show Pete Burns would not be prosecuted over his monkey fur coat.
Burns had bragged to his housemates in the Celebrity Big Brother house that the hideous coat was made from gorilla fur. Following complaints from viewers, police broke into the house and seized the coat.

But when the coat was examined by experts at the Natural History Museum, they concluded it was not made from gorillas, but rather black and white colobus monkeys, which are native to Africa. Although it has been illegal to import colobus monkey fur since 1975, it is not illegal to own it. The Crown noted that the coat was in a poor condition, and it was believed the pelts used to make it were likely to have been imported into the UK in the 1930s or 1940s. "There is no evidence to suggest that this garment was imported illegally," they concluded. A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Police, which currently has the coat, said it would be returned to the singer shortly.

Michael Barrymore
Celebrity Big Brother Housemate Michael Barrymore Also Escapes Prosecution
Finally, it was announced today that a district judge has blocked a bid to launch a private prosecution against "funnyman" Michael Barrymore following the death of Stuart Lubbock, a 31-year-old man who was found dead in Barrymore's swimming pool in March 2001.

A lawyer for Mr Lubbock's family had tried to prosecute Mr Barrymore for alleged drug offences and assault, but a district judge blocked the action on grounds of insufficient evidence. The decision was announced by the Lubbock family lawyer, Tony Bennett, following a private hearing.

Mr Bennett attempted to serve papers relating to the private prosecution on Barrymore last month while he was on Celebrity Big Brother. Channel 4 refused to accept the papers and instead brought the case before magistrates, who decided that a district judge should assess the case once Barrymore's lawyers had time to examine the papers, which resulted in the decision made today by the district judge.

Following the decision, Barrymore said: "Mr Bennet's motivation to seek the truth as to how Mr Stuart Lubbock received the injuries to his body is absolutely right. I remain totally commited as I always have been to continue to pursue the truth. Allegations about drugs on that night have always been a complete irrelevence as to how Stuart Lubbock suffered those injuries. The court held Mr Bennet's misguided application to prosecute me for drugs offences was an abuse of process, it was not in the public interest and the evidence on which he relied was either inadequate or unlawfully obtained."