, PORT ELIZABETH, Jul 3 – American party girl Paris Hilton was arrested for possession of marijuana at a World Cup match Friday, but a South African judge tossed out the charges against her.
Hilton and her friend, former Playboy Playmate Jennifer Rovero, were arrested for carrying a joint at the Brazil-Netherlands quarter-final match in the southern city of Port Elizabeth.
They appeared in one of South Africa\’s special World Cup courts at 12:20 am Saturday (2220 GMT Friday), about six hours after the match, where Hilton was named "Accused No. 1" in the case.
"The charges against you, Accused No. 1, are dropped," magistrate Xolile Dlulisa said.
"Thank you, your honour," Hilton replied and left the court, after the three-minute hearing.
She arrived at the courthouse about 30 minutes earlier and appeared relaxed, smiling at court officials with her blonde hair pulled into two ponytails.
While she waited for the hearing, people with FIFA badges were seen bringing her seven pizzas, 12 cold drinks and six waters in an antechamber.
Her friend 31-year-old Rovero was found guilty of possession of marijuana and ordered to either spend 30 days in jail or pay a 1,000 rand (128 dollar, 100 euro) fine. She paid the fine.
Their lawyer Terry Price told AFP that the charges were dropped against Hilton, 29, because Rovero was actually holding the joint when they were arrested.
Her website says she was a Playboy Playmate of the month for July 1999, but is now producing photo shoots. She was described in court as a freelance photographer.
The judge, who was sweating and wiping his head during the hearing, seemed almost apologetic in handing down his verdict.
"It\’s very difficult for a human being to decide the fate of another human being. There\’s no magic formula," he said.
"It\’s unfortunate that while you\’re a visitor to this country you find yourself on the wrong side of the law."
South Africa set up the World Cup courts to quickly handle crimes dealing with foreigners during the tournament. The operate in normal courtrooms but keep staff working late into the night.
A darling of the tabloids, Hilton, the great-granddaughter of the Hilton hotel chain\’s founder, shot to fame in 2003 when her boyfriend leaked a video of their sexual escapades on the Internet.
She became a television star with the reality show "The Simple Life" alongside her real-life friend, Nicole Ritchie, in which the celebrity princesses lived at a country farm in a lifestyle neither would likely ever otherwise encounter.
Hilton has since appeared in films and made musical recordings, but her efforts have only been greeted with three "Razzie Awards" — parodies of the Oscars doled out for the worst screen performances.
In 2007, Hilton was jailed for 23 days for violating probation over an alcohol-related reckless driving conviction triggering a media frenzy in the United States.
In March, Brazilian regulators forced changes to a beer ad in which Hilton appeared in suggestive poses, after banning the original spot as sexist.