Doherty is arrested hours after court spares him from jail

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The Independent Online

Musician Pete Doherty was arrested yesterday afternoon on suspicion of drug offences - just three hours after a judge spared him jail but banned him from driving for his narcotics habits.

The 27-year-old front man of Babyshambles was held on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply, after plain-clothes police stopped a car in Bethnal Green, east London. The 21-year-old driver of the car was also arrested, and the pair were taken to a police station for questioning. The maximum sentence if convicted of supplying Class A drugs is life imprisonment.

Yesterday morning, Doherty had looked relieved at London's Thames Magistrates' Court as a judge told him she would not imprison him, despite his admitting seven charges of possessing drugs.

Judge Jane McIvor praised him for making progress in his very public rehabilitation from hard drugs. "It's a long, slow process but you are showing sufficient signs of compliance and effort," she said - banning him for driving for six months, ordering him to participate in 18 months' drug rehabilitation, and placing him on two years' probation. She warned him he could be sent to prison if he broke the supervision order.

Ms McIvor also noted - in words that would be thrown back in her face within hours - that Doherty had not been arrested on drugs offences since 14 January.

The court earlier heard how police found marijuana, heroin and crack cocaine in Doherty's car and clothing when they stopped him one week before Christmas last year. When officers found plastic bags of crack in his right sock, the musician told them: "I didn't think I had it in there."