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Thursday, 3 August, 2000, 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK
Downey Jr freed from prison
Robert Downey Jr
Downey Jr, pictured in his prison uniform
Actor Robert Downey Jr has been released from prison after serving less than a third of his three-year sentence for cocaine possession.

An appeal court decided there had been an error in sentencing the 35-year-old Chaplin star in August 1999.

It found that the Superior Court judge had failed to take into account the 323 days he had already served in a drug rehabilitation centre.

Downey Jr was given the three-year term by Judge Lawrence Mira after violating a probation order for a 1996 cocaine possession charge by repeatedly missing mandatory drug tests.

He was released from California State Prison on Wednesday, following the hearing at the state's Second District Court of Appeal.

'Addicted since a child'

The actor's lawyer, Ross Nabatoff, said his client was relieved to finally be free.

Speaking from France, where he is on holiday, Nabatoff said: "He is doing as well as one can be under the circumstances. I'm sure he's doing a lot better as of today."

When he was sentenced in August last year, Downey Jr told the court he had been addicted to drugs since the age of eight and the threat of a prison term had not stopped him using heroin and cocaine.

But in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the 35-year-old insisted he had not used drugs since June 1999 and was depressed and angry at being in jail.

The son of film director Robert Downey, he earned an Oscar nomination for his title role in Chaplin, and also starred in Less Than Zero, Natural Born Killers and One Night Stand.

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06 Aug 99 | Americas
Addicted Downey Jnr jailed
06 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Downey Jnr back in jail
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