LONDON - Singer Amy Winehouse turned a court appearance into a spring fashion show Tuesday as she pleaded innocent to assaulting a fan at a party last year.
The 25-year-old star known for battles with addiction and frequent run-ins with the law stepped out of a car wearing a low-cut floral mini-dress and her trademark beehive hairdo. Paparazzi flashed away at their first sighting of the diva since she returned from an extended break on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
Winehouse, who has been in and out of rehab, looked healthier than in recent appearances and appeared to be in good spirits. She covered her bosom in faux modesty as she entered the courtroom.
Once inside the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, she confirmed her name and date of birth and pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault.
Winehouse gave her name as Amy Jade Civil. Her husband of two years, Blake Fielder-Civil, has filed for divorce.
Her lawyer, Mark Haslam, apologized for what he called the singer’s slightly late arrival in court, saying she had left her north London home more than two hours earlier but had been delayed.
Judge Timothy Workman ordered Winehouse to attend a new hearing at the same court on July 23. She was released on unconditional bail.
Winehouse’s drug problems have been front page news in Britain, where she was pictured puffing on what appeared to be a crack pipe last year. She was fined for illegally possessing marijuana in Norway in 2007, and also got a police warning in April of last year after scuffling with two men during a night out on the town in Camden, a north London neighborhood known for its music scene and drug culture.
She recently left Camden for the more sleepy Hadley Wood area of Enfield, a borough in London’s far north. The alleged assault took place before Winehouse’s vacation and move to quieter quarters.