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Pete Doherty misses drugs charge court date

Rock star Pete Doherty failed to appear in court today to face a charge of possessing cocaine.

His barrister, Peter Ratliff, said the singer believed he did not need to attend the committal hearing after letters were exchanged with the court.

District Judge Comyns said the Babyshambles frontman would not face any punishment for his non-appearance.

The 31-year-old was charged with possessing cocaine after police investigated the suspected overdose death of heiress Robin Whitehead.

Doherty, who has battled with drugs, said he was "shocked and saddened" by her death on January 24 last year.

The 27-year-old film-maker spent the last 10 days of her life making a documentary entitled The Road To Albion, focused on Doherty's former band, The Libertines.

Miss Whitehead, also known as Robyn, was the granddaughter of the late Teddy Goldsmith, founder of The Ecologist magazine, and the daughter of Dido Whitehead, a cousin of Jemima Khan and Zac Goldsmith, and Sixties film-maker Peter Whitehead.

Miss Whitehead's half-sister, Sian, was in the public gallery to watch the hearing but was invited into the main courtroom when heavy rain began dripping through the ceiling.

Doherty, of Durley, Marlborough, in Wiltshire, is now due to appear at London's Thames Magistrates' Court, charged alongside two friends who were also not present today, for a second committal hearing on February 2.

Alan Wass, 29, of Latimer Road, west London, is also charged with cocaine possession.

Peter Wolfe, 42, of Heath Road, Boughton Monchelsea, Maidstone, Kent, is accused of two counts of possession of cocaine and one count of supplying cocaine.

All three men are expected to deny the charges.