Nigella Lawson off the hook

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British TV chef Nigella Lawson poses during a photocall for the television show "Nigellissima" as part of the Mipcom international audiovisual trade show at the Palais des Festivals, in Cannes, southeastern France, on October 9, 2012.

LONDON - British police said on  Monday they would take no further action against television chef Nigella Lawson after she admitted in court to drug-taking.

Scotland Yard said in a statement that pursuing Lawson risked deterring future witnesses from being candid in court due to the fear of prosecution.

Claims that Lawson was a habitual cocaine and cannabis user emerged during the trial of two personal assistants who were cleared last month of defrauding Lawson and her ex-husband, the wealthy art collector Charles Saatchi.

Appearing as a witness, Lawson, 54, insisted she was not addicted to drugs but had used cocaine and cannabis occasionally in the past.

Police said a specialist team had examined all the available evidence relating to the admissions.

"The review has concluded that there will be no further action by police," the statement said, having taken into account whether it would have been proportionate and in the public interest.

"There are serious public interest concerns about the message any prosecution would send out to potential witnesses and victims in the future.

"Whilst witnesses clearly cannot simply admit to any offence under oath without consequences, this has to be balanced with the requirement for victims and witnesses to tell the truth.

"Further police activity may deter victims from being candid with police and in court for fear of future investigation."

Lawson has made a fortune with a series of cookery books and television shows in Britain and the United States.

While in the witness box, she said she was "not proud" of her past occasional drugs use.

But after repeated questioning on the subject she said: "I really feel if you want to put me on trial, put me on trial.

"I don&39;t feel it is right to have me here as a witness for the Crown and treat me like this."

Lawson said she had taken cocaine with her first husband John Diamond just before he died of cancer in 2001, as well as in 2010 when she was having a "very, very difficult time" in her marriage to Saatchi.

She had also "smoked the odd joint" of cannabis to cope with the stress of her second marriage. afp b