Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Kate Moss to escape cocaine charges

Daily Mail

Kate Moss is to avoid criminal charges over allegations that she snorted "line after line" of cocaine.

The 32-year-old model was questioned by police in January, four months after she was pictured apparently using the drug at a recording studio.

Within days of the photographs appearing she issued a statement admitting "full responsibility" for her actions and apologising for her behaviour.

But her failure to make any admissions when interviewed has apparently brought the case to a halt.

According to sources, she is unlikely even to be cautioned, leaving her without a criminal record and free to work wherever she wishes.

A file on the case is with the Crown Prosecution Service and a decision on charges is expected in the next two weeks. Lawyers have requested that Scotland Yard detectives carry out some additional work before they make a formal announcement.

Legal sources have told the Daily Mail, however, that barring sensational new evidence Miss Moss will be cleared.

It is understood there are three main reasons why prosecution lawyers believe there is insufficient evidence to charge her. Firstly, police cannot be 100 per cent certain that she was snorting cocaine in the pictures published last year. If charged, she could argue that was pretending to take the drug.

Secondly, there are fears that she could have been "set up" to take substances by music industry insiders looking to sell the images to a newspaper. It is believed the Daily Mirror paid up to £150,000 for the footage.

Finally, she refused to say anything incriminating when interviewed by officers on January 31. Without an admission of guilt, she cannot even be cautioned.

When she attended Scotland Yard offices near Buckingham Palace for questioning, detectives did not arrest her. Instead, they interviewed her under caution, warning her that anything she said could be used as evidence against her if she were prosecuted.

Sources close to the investigation say that, acting on legal advice, she simply refused to say anything beyond confirming her name and address and handing over a short written statement.

The questions came after an extraordinary 142-day exile from Britain which began in September when the photographs were published in the Mirror, and Croydon-born Miss Moss left for a U.S. drug rehabilitation clinic.

Detectives raided the Metropolis studio in Chiswick, West London, where the footage was shot but they found no traces of any banned drug. The model was at the studio during a recording session by her boyfriend, drug addict Pete Doherty.

Two others could face charges over the incident. Mick Jones, 50, formerly of The Clash and now record producer for Doherty's band Baby-shambles, and another man, a close associate of Doherty, were also pictured taking the substance and could be charged with possession of a Class A drug.

The case is being handled by a CPS lawyer who has studied the images along with an audio soundtrack and a full police report. The inquiry was ordered by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair as part of a clampdown on middle-class cocaine users.

He said on his first day in the post that he was fed up with those who snorted the drug at fashionable dinner parties thinking they were above the law. But senior police sources admit that, without any admissions from Miss Moss, they were left powerless to act.

Mary Brett, of the campaign group Europe Against Drugs, said the decision sent the "wrong messages to young impressionable people".

She added: "There is a general acceptance in society that cannabis use is almost normal and that cocaine use - amongst celebrities - is almost fine. It appears there is one law for normal people and another for celebrities."

Peter Stoker, of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: "I believe she should be required to attend a drugs education course or be ordered to do sort of community punishment."


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