Former Wham! star George Michael was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment yesterday after he pleaded guilty to crashing through a shop window while under the influence of cannabis.
The police found the 47-year-old, whose real name is Georgios Panayiotou, slumped at the wheel of his luxury Range Rover with the engine still running in front of a branch of Snappy Snaps in Hampstead, north London, at around 3 a.m. on July 4th.
When police officers tried to rouse him, Michael attempted to put the car back into gear. He also appeared 'spaced out', was 'sweating profusely' and had 'dilated pupils'.
Later, after he was arrested on suspicion of drug driving, police found two cannabis cigarettes in his possession and a blood sample confirmed the presence of cannabis in his body.
Michael admitted that he'd taken a 'newly-prescribed sedative' to help him sleep and smoked a 'small quantity' of pot several hours before the accident. Apparently he decided to drive between his homes in Highgate and Hampstead 'on the spur of the moment' to meet a friend, and completely forgot he had taken the sedative.
He pleaded guilty to two charges: possession of a class B drug and driving while unfit through drugs. In mitigation, Michael's barrister Mukul Chawla QC said his client was clearly unfit to drive and could not remember taking the sedative. He also told the court that Michael had stopped driving following the crash.
In sentencing Michael, the court said it took note that he had a prior conviction of driving while unfit through drugs in October 2006.
The singer has also been cautioned for drugs possession in the past and in 1997 was famously fined for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public toilet in Beverly Hills, California.
- George Michael jailed for eight weeks (Guardian)
- George Michael faces prison after driving into shop high on cannabis (The Solicitor)
- Drugalyser tests introduced in clamp down on drug driving (The Solicitor)
- Drugs law overview (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Driving and drugs (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Find solicitors (Contact Law)