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Paris Hilton arrested for dagga at PE stadium

Published Jul 3, 2010


US socialite Paris Hilton and a former Playboy Playmate appeared in a World Cup Court in Port Elizabeth early on Saturday morning on charges of dagga possession.

"The charges have been withdrawn by the State, step down please," Magistrate Xolile Dlulisa told Hilton, 29, shortly after midnight. She then left court 19 by a side door.

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Her co-accused, Jennifer Rovero, 31, Playboy's Playmate of the Month in July 1999, was fined R1 000 or 30 days in prison after she pleaded guilty to possession of one dagga cigarette.

The magistrate said he had considered various options, but thought the sentence was appropriate. The offence she had committed was "rife" in the Eastern Cape.

"It will teach you a lesson and send a message to others that they will respect the laws of this country," Dlulisa told the blonde, who was born in Texas, USA.

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Earlier Rovero's lawyer, Terry Price, had told the court that where she came from the possession of dagga cigarettes was not an offence.

The magistrate then agreed with him, saying it was a "trivial offence".

Price described Rovero to the court as single with two children, aged eight and three. She lived in New York with the kids' father.

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She was freelance photographer and in South Africa to follow the World Cup.

Hilton, who did not seem perturbed by the events, was arrested along with Rovero on suspicion of possession of marijuana at a World Cup quarterfinal match between Brazil and the Netherlands.

National police spokeswoman, Brigadier Sally de Beer said Hilton and Rovero were arrested at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, after police smelled cannabis.

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"When they approached the two women outside the stadium a cannabis cigarette was thrown to the floor," said de Beer in a statement.

"The women were then apparently ushered into the stadium by bodyguards."

Police seized the evidence and approached the women inside the stadium.

Hilton and Rovero were taken into custody after a bodyguard handed a second cannabis cigarette over to the police.

In court, Hilton wore green pants with black knee-high leather boots, and a grey sleeveless top over a white vest.

The vest had a tiger's face on it. Her long blonde hair had been tied up in two pigtails and she wore heavy black eyeliner.

Before the magistrate entered she sat with Rovero. The two appeared to be on friendly terms and were talking and smiling to each other.

Price turned to the journalists and said: "Please, nobody take pictures."


Police officers then went from journalist to journalist saying "no cameras, switch off your cellphones".

One journalist, who was suspected to have snapped a photo with her cellphone, was made to erase any images that she had.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Price said authorities were trying to hold Rovero.

"She was due to fly to Joburg and now she can't."

Asked about Hilton, he said: "She wasn't in possession of anything. They f***** up. They got the wrong blonde."

In a post on Twitter, Hilton wrote later: "Hey guys, there's a lot of crazy rumors going around. Just want you all to know the truth. Everything is completely fine.

"I was not charged or arrested, cause I didn't do anything. I was assisting the police with the investigation and answering their questions.

"Everyone was super nice and friendly to me. I love South Africa! Such an amazing place, especially during The World Cup! Hope that clears everything up. Love you guys, thanks for your concern. Xoxo P."

Around 10.30pm on Friday, as journalists waited outside the court for proceedings to start, a Fifa official showed up with a stack of pizzas.

The official told reporters the pizzas were for officials at the court. One wag then suggested they might be for Paris, in case she had the munchies. - Sapa

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