Pubdate: Sun, 25 Feb 2018
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 The Toronto Star
Author: Valerie Hauch
Page: A15


Judge nixes jail for Stones guitarist, orders community service

More than 40 years have passed since the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
had to "slap'' Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards awake at a
Toronto hotel so they could arrest him for possession of heroin for
the purposes of trafficking.

The charge, which carried a minimum of seven years upon conviction,
was based on the 22 grams of heroin found on Feb. 27,1977, during a
raid of Richards' room at the Harbour Castle Hilton (now Westin
Harbour Castle), while he was sleeping.

"They couldn't wake me. By law you have to be conscious to be
arrested,'' Richards dryly recollects in his 2010 autobiography, Life.

"My memory of it is waking up and them going slap, slap, two Mounties
dragging me about the room, slapping me. Trying to get me conscious .
. .''

Richards wrote he'd been up for "five days" before the RCMP arrested
him at the Queens Quay hotel.

They had a search warrant under the name of Richards' then-common-law
wife, German actress Anita Pallenberg. She was not charged at the
hotel - Richards admitted the heroin was his.

Three days earlier, while travelling with Richards, Pallenberg was
arrested at Pearson International Airport after a spoon with traces of
heroin on it and 10 grams of hashish were discovered in her luggage.
The couple had flown from London, England, to Toronto to meet the
other members of the Stones, who were preparing to record their Love
You Live album at the El Mocambo nightclub.

Pallenberg was charged with possession of heroin and cannabis, booked
in Brampton and released on a promise to appear later in provincial
court. (She pled guilty the following month to possession of cannabis
and was fined $400, after the judge ruled there were only traces of
heroin detected.)

According to a 2012 Rolling Stone magazine article, because the search
warrant had Pallenberg's name on it, a justice of the peace at a
Brampton court released Richards on a $1,000 no-deposit bail. So he
didn't have to pay anything.

But this sliver of good fortune didn't last. On March 8, 1977,
Richards, looking "pale and nervous,'' the Star reported, appeared at
Toronto's Old City Hall courthouse to face a second charge and a bail
hearing for possession of cocaine.

During the hotel raid, police had taken a substance from his room (in
addition to the heroin). It was tested and identified as cocaine. At
this hearing Richards' bail was set at $25,000 cash and he was allowed
to keep his passport. (In some of its initial reporting, the Star
referred to the Stones' lead guitarist's last name as Richard but
later advised that he had "recently added an 's' to his name."
Richards went back to his original surname in the late 1970s, after
dropping the "s" in 1963, at the advice of then-manager Andrew Loog
Oldham who felt it was "more pop.")

Between court appearances, Richards performed at two live Stones
sessions at the El Mocambo, on March 4 and March 5. Both shows were
packed with 300-plus fans.

Richards' drug problems added to the usual buzz surrounding any Stones
appearance, but this time there was an additional bizarre element:
Margaret Trudeau, wife of Canada's prime minister Pierre Trudeau (and
mother of the current prime minister), arrived in a limousine with
lead singer Mick Jagger for the first El Mocambo performance. A
longtime Stones fan, she stayed for the entire session and also went
afterward to the Harbour Castle, where she had booked a room.

Richards wasn't happy about the extra publicity that came with the
wife of the prime minister hanging around the Stones. It was, he wrote
in his book, the "worst combination of circumstances . . . Trudeau's
bride . . . was seen walking in our corridors in a bathrobe.'' There
was innuendo that Margaret was having an affair with Jagger. But in
his memoir, Richards hints it was actually Stones guitarist Ron Wood
who was "hitting it off really well" with Margaret Trudeau.

The other Stones left Toronto after the El Mocambo shows, but Richards
stayed behind. Speculation swirled about the band's future. A Rolling
Stone magazine article at the time wondered if Richards' troubles
meant "the end of the Rolling Stones.''

Richards decided to get treatment for his drug use. With permission
from Canadian authorities and a medical visa from the United States,
he left April 1 to enter a withdrawal program at a facility near
Philadelphia, and then ongoing treatment at the Stevens Psychiatric
Center in New York City.

He was back in Toronto in early December 1977 for a preliminary
hearing and the Star reported he elected trial by judge and jury. But
this would change.

On Oct. 23, 1978, after slipping into the University Ave. County Court
building "via a back entrance," Richards stood before Judge Lloyd
Graburn and elected trial by judge alone and then pled guilty to
possession of heroin. The charges of trafficking and possession of
cocaine were dropped.

The next day Richards, wearing a tie and three-piece tan suit,
appeared for sentencing in a packed courtroom. Richards did not speak
but his lawyer told the court that he had started using heroin in
1969. He was soon taking large amounts "as much as 21⁄ grams a
day," Austin Cooper

2 told the judge. He said Richards, a "creative tortured person,'' had
tried several times before to quit but he always "fell back into the
cauldron.'' The most recent treatment, in which he was still involved,
appeared to be succeeding, he told the court.

Crown attorney Paul Kennedy asked for a jail term of six to 12 months.
Richards' lawyer, Cooper, argued that the only reasons for a jail term
would be to break Richards' heroin habit or to prevent him from
resorting to crime. Since Richards was already getting treatment and
had enough money that he didn't need to turn to crime, there was no
need for jail, he said.

The judge agreed: "No incarceration or fine would be appropriate
because of Mr. Richards' continuing treatment for drug addiction and
his long-term benefit to the community." He gave Richards a one year
suspended sentence and put him on a year's probation. He also ordered
him to continue his addiction treatment and to "give a special
performance at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind'' within
six months.

The next day, in media interviews from his hotel room, Richards said:
"I feel good about it obviously . . . I am quite happy.'' He also
joked that the other Stones, who he'd told not to attend the trial,
"were pissed off I was not put away for a couple of years.''

About heroin addiction, he commented, "It's easier to get on it than
off it.''

Richards fulfilled his sentence terms. The benefit concert for the
CNIB took place on April 22, 1979, at the Oshawa Civic Auditorium (the
CNIB auditorium was too small).

In his book Richards wrote that a blind fan of the Stones, who
hitchhiked to many of their concerts and who he befriended, fed and
looked out for, had gone to the judge before sentencing and spoken up
for him.

"And this is how he arrived at the concert for the blind . . . the
most Solomon-like judgment that had been handed down in many a year.''
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