Singer looked 'nonplussed' as not guilty verdict was delivered

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She arrived at court wearing a smart grey suit, but after being cleared of assault Amy Winehouse lived up to the title of her second album and went back to black.

The latest episode in the singer's tumultuous life came to a close yesterday after a claim that she had punched a burlesque dancer in the face at a charity ball was dismissed.

Sherene Flash, who had been performing alongside Winehouse at the Prince's Trust Ball in Berkeley Square, central London, claimed the 25-year-old singer had hit her forcefully in the right eye after she asked for a photograph backstage.

However, the common assault charge was dismissed by district judge Timothy Workman, sitting at City of Westminster magistrates' court, who said all but two of the witnesses had been drunk at the time of the incident.

He explained: "Weighing the evidence of Miss Flash against all the other eye witnesses called for both the prosecution and the defence, I cannot be sure this was not an accident."

Winehouse looked nonplussed as the verdict was read out and did not leave the dock until her solicitor clarified the ruling. She left the courtroom having exchanged her suit for a leather jacket, bidding farewell to the mass of reporters and photographers camped outside with the words: "I'm relieved. I'm going home."

It was a suitably bizarre court appearance from the singer, who has proved easy prey for red-top newspapers due to her chaotic lifestyle and drug taking.

When asked what shoes she had been wearing at the time of the alleged assault, she jumped up from the witness box and twirled in front of the judge to show off her footwear: "I had shoes on like this. In fact, these are the very shoes I had on that night. Look, they don't even have a sole. They don't have a heel."

After the judge told her he was aware of what flat shoes were, she returned to the witness box.

During the hearing, the singer told the court she had felt intimidated and scared by the drunken Miss Flash, who she accused of treating her like Mickey Mouse by leaning over and put her arm around her to pose for a photograph. She had said: "I pushed her up, like away. I wanted her away from me. It was more like an indication of 'Leave me alone, I'm scared of you'. I meant to just get her away from me.

"I didn't know what she was doing. She lunged at me and put her arm around me. She was just drunk. I think she was being overly friendly but that was intimidating. I was scared. I'm not Mickey Mouse, I'm a human being."