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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pop singer George Michael jailed for driving while high

    LONDON — A clearly distraught George Michael started an eight-week jail term Tuesday after a court in London sentenced the famous pop singer to jail on charges of driving while under the influence of drugs.

    Michael, 47, the former Wham! star, gasped and clasped his hands at Highbury Magistrates Court in north London when the judge pronounced the custodial sentence.

    The singer was told that he would have to spend four weeks in jail, with the remaining weeks on parole. He was banned from driving for five years.

    He was driven away in a white prison van, after his lawyers had detailed his fight against addiction in an attempt to gain leniency.

    The court heard that Michael, whose real name is Georgios Panayiotou, had been found “”spaced out”” at the wheel of his Range Rover in Hampstead, north London, on July 4, after driving the vehicle into a photo shop.

    The police officers who arrested him told the court they had found Michael “”breathing heavily,”” his pupils dilated and his face “”dripping with sweat.””

    When told that he had crashed into a shop, the singer reportedly said: “”No I didn’t. I didn’t crash into anything.””

    Two marijuana cigarettes had been found in his car and blood tests showed deposits of chemicals linked to the drug.

    Michael admitted smoking a “”small quantity”” of marijuana the previous evening and taking a newly prescribed sedative to make him sleep.

    District Judge John Perkins told Michael he had taken a “”dangerous and unpredictable mix”” of prescription drugs and marijuana.

    “”It is a serious matter. Your driving was extremely poor and there was an accident,”” said the judge, who said previous convictions had been taken into account.

    Michael had previously been fined, and ordered to do community service, but Tuesday’s verdict was the first resulting in a jail term.

    Lawyers for Michael outlined his contributions to charity work and his repeated efforts at rehabilitation, including a recent stay in a detox clinic.

    In an interview with the Guardian newspaper last year, the singer said he had “”cut down to seven or eight spliffs a day,”” compared with the 25 he once smoked.

    Michael, who has sold more than 100 million records, including such hits as “Careless Whisper,” “Freedom” and “Faith,” has had a string of run-ins with the law.

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