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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Houston silent on drugs charge
Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston - faces a possible term in jail, if convicted
Whitney Houston has kept silent after prosecutors in Hawaii decided to charge her with possessing half an ounce of marijuana.

The singer faces a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail or a $1,000 (687) fine if convicted.

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown
Houston and husband Bobby Brown, who was recently jailed for drugs offences

She has been given until 26 October to appear in Hawaii's Kona District Court to contest the charges, but won't have to appear in court if she pleads guilty.

Houston's bag was seized in January in Hawaii, allegedly containing 15.2 grams of marijuana in a plastic bag.

Airport security do not have the authority to detain people and Houston was not arrested.

She left the bag behind and boarded a flight to San Francisco with her husband, singer Bobby Brown, before police arrived.

Prosecutor's u-turn

"At this time we are unable to comment," said a Los Angeles spokeswoman for Houston.

Houston's husband Bobby Brown recently spent 26 days in a Florida jail after testing positive for cocaine.

He was also in violation of probation terms imposed for a 1996 drunk driving incident.

The decision to charge Houston is a u-turn for the Hawaiian prosecutor's office.

In April, it returned the case to police for further investigation after determining there wasn't enough initial evidence to press charges.

Houston has returned to the charts recently with a series of duets, including a song with George Michael.

Her career seemed to have stalled in the mid-1990s but she relaunched herself with a new sound and look for her album, My Love is Your Love.

At the recent Grammy awards, Houston won for best female R&B vocal performance for her song It's Not Right But It's Okay.

Meanwhile, US network Court TV has already applied for permission to cover Houston's case.

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See also:

13 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Singer Bobby sent to jail
18 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Police probe Whitney drugs claim
08 Sep 00 | Entertainment
MTV triumph for Eminem
24 Feb 00 | Entertainment
The Grammys in pictures
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