Keith Richards Has His Day In Court

Guitarist pleads guilty to possession of drugs and firearms

Rolling Stone Keith Richards
Jorgen Angel/Redferns
Keith Richards performing in Copenhagen, Denmark circa 1973.
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Keith Richards was fined £205 (about $500) and given conditional discharges on four drug charges and three firearms offenses, following trial October 24th in Marlborough Street Magistrate Court. Actress Anita Pallenberg, arrested with Richards June 26th when police raided their home in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, was given a conditional discharge for possession of 25 Mandrax tablets.

Mick Jagger was a spectator at the 90-minute proceedings, during which Richards' defense attorney Richard Du Can maintained that drugs found in the raid were left in the house by persons who had stayed there during the musician's absence.

Police said they found cannabis, Mandrax and Chinese heroin in a strongbox under Richards' four-poster bed. Officers said they also found a revolver, 110 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition and a shotgun in the house.

Du Can told the court Richards had no idea how the shotgun came to be in the house. The attorney said the revolver had been purchased in San Francisco for Richards' personal protection on a trip to Jamaica, and later the weapon was mailed to England.

Richards was charged with possession of the drugs and firearms. He pleaded guilty.

A week before the London trial Richard and Pallenberg were given one-year suspended sentences and fined $1100 each by a French court for throwing parties at which drugs were used at their home at Villefranche-sur-mer in 1971.

This story is from the November 22nd, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 148: November 22, 1973