Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has issued a damning indictment of Britain's court system, branding her recent involvement in a fraud trial "deeply disturbing", "malicious", and "a ridiculous sideshow".
The Tv cook was forced to admit previously using cocaine and marijuana when she was questioned under oath as a witness in the trial of two of her former aides, sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, earlier this month (Dec13).
The siblings were cleared on Friday (20Dec13) of spending $1.02 million (£685,000) on credit cards owned by Lawson and her former husband Charles Saatchi without permission, and following the verdict, Lawson has launched a furious broadside against the justice system.
She slammed defence teams for concentrating on unproven claims she is an habitual drug user, blasted officials for not being given the right to respond to the allegations, and called for major reforms of the British court system.
In a statement, Lawson writes, "I am disappointed but unsurprised by this verdict. Over the three-week trial the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible.
"My experience as a witness was deeply disturbing. When false claims about habitual drug use were introduced I did everything possible to ensure the Cps (Crown Prosecution Service) was aware of the sustained background campaign deliberately designed to destroy my reputation...
"I did my civic duty, only to be maliciously vilified without the right to respond. I can only hope that my experience will highlight the need for a reform that will give witnesses some rights to rebut false claims made against them.
"Even more harrowing was seeing my children subjected to extreme allegations in court without any real protection or representation. For this I cannot forgive the court process...
"While this has been a difficult and upsetting time for both me and my family I would like to thank my friends, family and all those who have expressed support throughout this ordeal."
Following the trial, London's Metropolitan Police confirmed they will not be investigating Lawson's admission she has previously taken drugs.