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Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Winona case delayed again
Winona Ryder enters court for a previous hearing
There have already been several delays
Winona Ryder's shoplifting case has been delayed again, as her lawyer's busy diary forced a preliminary hearing to be moved to June.

On Wednesday, a judge agreed to reschedule to 3 June the hearing to determine whether Ryder will stand trial.

Superior Court Judge Elden Fox agreed to the change after Ryder's lawyer Mark Geragos asked for a delay because of a clash with a court appearance in a murder case he is handling.

The hearing has been delayed several times since Ryder's arrest in December.

The request "was not unreasonable or wimpy", the judge said.

Investigation continues

Prosecutor Julie Jurek objected strongly to the new delay, insisting: "There's no reason to keep continuing the case."

Jurek argued the defence should be ready to proceed.

Ryder, who did not attend Wednesday's 10-minute hearing, was represented by attorney Shepard Kopp, who said the defence continued to investigate the allegations.

The actress was arrested on 12 December for allegedly stealing about $4,800 (3,300) in clothing from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

Police said she was in possession of the painkiller oxycodone, a morphine derivative, without a prescription.

Oscar nominations

She has denied theft, burglary, vandalism and possession of a controlled substance.

Mr Geragos has said Ryder was only carrying items between store departments and had a prescription for the drugs.

The 30-year-old actress, who earned Oscar nominations for playing the heroines in the period films Little Women and The Age of Innocence, is free on $20,000 (13,700) bail.

She faces up to three years, eight months in prison if convicted.

But the actress has made light of her brush with the law, appearing on the cover of the June issue of W magazine wearing one of the Free Winona T-shirts that have become a cult phenomenon.

See also:

14 Mar 02 | Americas
13 Mar 02 | Showbiz
14 Dec 01 | Showbiz
01 Feb 02 | Showbiz
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