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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Winona denies theft charge
Winona Ryder is escorted out of court
Ms Ryder's lawyers have complained of unfairness
Actress Winona Ryder has appeared in court to formally deny charges that she shoplifted designer goods from a Beverly Hills store.

Ms Ryder, 30, pleaded not guilty when she appeared in court on serious charges of grand theft, burglary, vandalism and possession of a controlled drug at Beverly Hills Court.

The star of Girl, Interrupted appeared before Superior Court Judge Elden Fox with her arm in a sling after it was fractured when she was struck by a camera at an earlier hearing.

Winona Ryder leaves court on Friday wearing a sling
Ms Ryder hurt her arm before a previous court appearance
Lawyer Mark Geragos has started legal action to disqualify the Los Angeles District Attorney's office from the case after claiming prosecutors were not treating Ms Ryder fairly.

The case was deferred until Monday 15 July for a pre-trial hearing when the judge is expected to rule on that action.

Ms Ryder has maintained her innocence since she was arrested at exclusive store Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills just before Christmas last year.

Last week, following a preliminary hearing, Judge Fox decided there was enough evidence to warrant her standing trial.

Guard's evidence

During that two-day hearing, the court was told that Ms Ryder crouched in a changing room and used scissors to cut security tags off designer handbags.

Security officer Colleen Rainey claimed she peered through the changing room's door slats and watched as the actress stuffed goods into her bag.

She was arrested outside Saks on 12 December last year for allegedly stealing about 3,500 worth of goods, including hats, handbags, tops, socks and hair accessories, from the store.

Police said she also had the painkiller Oxycodone, a morphine derivative, without a prescription.

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

See also:

11 Jun 02 | Showbiz
14 Dec 01 | Film
14 Mar 02 | Americas
13 Mar 02 | Showbiz
01 Feb 02 | Showbiz
07 Jun 02 | Showbiz
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