LONDON (Reuters) - Singer Pete Doherty walked free from court on Tuesday after prosecutors abandoned their case against him for breaching bail terms which ban him from living in London.
Prosecutors admitted they had exceeded a 24-hour limit for bringing their case after Doherty was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning in east London on suspicion of possessing drugs.
Doherty, 28, is required to undergo detox treatment and live and sleep at an address in Somerset under the terms of his bail conditions before being sentenced next month for a string of other drugs offences.
“The case has been dropped on a legal technicality: no conviction has been recorded,” prosecutor Anjulika Vatish told reporters outside West London Magistrates’ Court.
“Mr Doherty was arrested on 20 August at 2:35 a.m. and so the court has no jurisdiction to deal with this matter any more,” Vatish had earlier told the court.
Doherty, the on-off boyfriend of supermodel Kate Moss, did not appear in court.
“Anyone arrested for breach of bail should be brought before the court within 24 hours,” said District Judge Susan Williams.
“Clearly this has not happened in this case and no doubt the police have made arrangements for Mr Doherty’s immediate release,” she added.
Police had arrested Doherty with another man and a woman in Tower Hamlets after he had performed with his band Babyshambles late on Sunday at the V Festival in Staffordshire .
Earlier this month, Doherty was warned by a magistrate that he faced a prison sentence if he failed to show that he was trying to kick his drugs habit.
The singer is due to return to the court on September 4 for sentencing after pleading guilty in July to possessing crack cocaine, heroin, cannabis and ketamine, as well as to two driving offences.
He must return to police on October 31 to deal with Monday’s arrest.