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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
No charge for Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr and Calista Flockhart
Downey Jr with Ally McBeal co-star Calista Flockhart
Actor Robert Downey Jr will not be prosecuted following his arrest last month, although forensic tests proved that he had cocaine in his bloodstream.

Downey Jr, 36, is on parole after a prison sentence for seperate drug offence, and this latest incident will be treated as a violation of that parole rather than a new charge.

A parole violation could still mean a prison sentence but California state officials ruled out this possibility on Monday.

"We'll strengthen the conditions of his parole," said Russ Heimerich of the Department of Corrections in Sacramento.

Robert Downey Jr
Downey won a Screen Actors Guild award for best actor in January
Downey Jr was arrested in Culver City on 24 April suspected of being under the influence of a drug.

Police said toxicology reports on urine samples voluntarily submitted by Downey Jr on the evening of his arrest "showed the presence of cocaine".

But the district attorney's office decided not to pursue the case with a charge.

Treatment

Downey Jr's lawyer welcomed the decision not to prosecute.

"This will allow Mr Downey to remain in rehabilitation and continue to fight this disease," said attorney Robert Waters.

The actor checked himself into a live-in drug treatment centre after his arrest and is still there.

His arrest led to his sudden departure from the hit TV series Ally McBeal, some episodes of which had to be re-written without him.

Earlier this year he won Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for his role in the series.

Robert Downey Jr
Downey Jr following his April arrest
The actor also faces another more serious court case on 24 May on charges of possessing cocaine and the prescription drug Valium.

These charges arise from a previous arrest in the California town of Palm Springs in November 2000.

Downey Jr has had repeated problems with drugs and the law.

In 1996, police found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his vehicle after he was stopped by police for speeding.

A month later, he was found passed out in a neighbour's house and was hospitalised at a substance abuse treatment centre.

In August 1999 Downey Jr was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation by skipping scheduled drug tests, but was released a year later on bail.

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See also:

25 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Downey Jr's drug-hit career
01 May 01 | Showbiz
Downey Jr court hearing delayed
27 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Ally creator 'furious' at Downey Jr
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Downey Jr signs McBeal deal
29 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr arrest boosts ratings
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