Amy Winehouse cleared of assault

LONDON (Reuters) - British singer Amy Winehouse was found not guilty on Friday of assaulting a dancer at a charity ball last year. Winehouse, 25, had been accused of deliberately punching dancer Sherene Flash in the face backstage at the Prince’s Trust Ball in Berkeley Square, central London, in September.

“Having heard the evidence from all the witnesses, I cannot be sure that this was not an accident,” district judge Timothy Workman was quoted by the Press Association as telling the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

“The charge is dismissed and the defendant discharged.”

Winehouse, dressed in a knee-length black skirt, grey jacket and white shirt, initially looked confused as the verdict was read out. On her way out of the courtroom, she told reporters: “I’m relieved. I’m going home.”

Outside court, a spokesman added: “She’s always maintained her innocence and is very happy to move on with her life and put the episode behind her.”

During the two-day trial, the singer said she had been intimidated by Flash, who had asked for a photograph of the star. Winehouse said she pushed the dancer away when she put her arm around her.

“Five foot seven in burlesque heels places you at quite an advantage over five foot two in ballet pumps,” Winehouse’s lawyer Patrick Gibbs told the court on Friday, explaining why the singer had felt threatened.

Winehouse won five Grammy awards in 2008 and her album “Back to Black” earned widespread critical acclaim. But her troubled private life, including a battle against drug addiction, has overshadowed her recording success.

In March, Winehouse was unable to get a U.S. work visa to perform at April’s Coachella festival in California because of the assault charge. Earlier this month, she ended her two-year marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil.

Writing by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison