BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Entertainment  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Winona drug charge dropped
Winona Ryder outside court
Ms Ryder's trial should begin next week
Drug charges against Hollywood star Winona Ryder have been dropped following a request from the prosecution at a court hearing at Beverly Hills Superior Court.

Judge Elden Fox dropped the allegation that Ms Ryder was in illegal possession of a painkiller when she was arrested for alleged shoplifting last December, at the brief hearing on Wednesday.

The actress still faces charges of grand theft, commercial burglary and vandalism and her trial was adjourned until 24 October.

Ms Ryder, 30, denies all the charges against her made when she was accused of stealing nearly $6,000 (3,820) worth of goods from the exclusive department store Saks Fifth Avenue in Los Angeles.

Winona Ryder
Ms Ryder has made several court appearances

Prosecutors in the case asked the judge to dismiss a charge that the actress illegally possessed a painkiller at the time of her arrest.

Ms Ryder's defence had given a sworn statement from an unnamed person suggesting the star had reason to possess the Oxycodone pills, the District Attorney's office said.

Outside the court, Ms Ryder's lawyer, Mark Geragos, described the move as "highly significant" and said his client was relieved by the decision.

'Trying'

Mr Geragos said Ms Ryder's defence team had always maintained she had a prescription for the pills, a generic painkiller called Percocet.

Mr Geragos said: "It is unfortunate that it has taken 11 months for someone to see that but we applaud the decision."

He added that Ms Ryder had been prescribed the pills by her doctor after breaking her arm while filming Mr Deeds with actor Adam Sandler.

Winona Ryder at the 2001 Oscars
The actress' next movie Mr Deeds opens in the UK in November

He also said Ms Ryder was ready to go to trial on the remaining charges, although the long drawn-out proceedings and the public scrutiny had been "extremely trying" for the actress.

Ms Ryder has been on bail since her arrest.

Ms Ryder's trial was due to start on Thursday but was further delayed because Mr Geragos is involved in another case, which he said he hoped to be concluded by the middle of next week.

The case has also proved complex and lengthy because both sides have argued over details.

Mr Geragos has argued his client would not get a fair hearing because of the publicity surrounding the case.

Talks on a plea bargain collapsed in September, paving the way for a full-scale jury trial.

See also:

10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
19 Sep 02 | Entertainment
14 Jun 02 | Entertainment
11 Jun 02 | Entertainment
04 Jun 02 | Entertainment
13 Mar 02 | Entertainment
01 Feb 02 | Entertainment
14 Dec 01 | Entertainment
16 Oct 02 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes