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Charges in Barenaked Ladies case reduced

Drug charges against Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page, 38, his girlfriend Christine Benedicto, 28, of Fayetteville and a mutual friend Stephanie M. Ford, 26, also of Fayetteville, were reduced during a court appearance held Oct. 28 at the Fayetteville Village Court.

Around 2 a.m. July 1, Manlius police officers found a suspicious vehicle parked around across the sidewalk with its drivers side door open in the driveway of 311 East Genesee Street in the village of Fayetteville. Officers then observed a man (Page) and woman (Ford) seated at a kitchen table inside the apartment with an unknown white capsule, which tested positive for cocaine.

Page, a native of Toronto, Ontario, and Ford were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a class C felony crime; Ford was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

Benedicto was later arrested in connection with contraband found during a search of the apartment. Following investigation, Benedicto, who was not home at the time of the incident, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

Last night, Village Justice Thomas J. Miller called Ford's case first, and reduced her original felony drug charge to a misdemeanor as part of a plea deal with the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office. The case was then adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. A charge of unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, was dismissed.

According to New York State law, an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal may be offered to a defendant in the interest of justice with a view toward ultimate dismissal of the charge. The case is usually adjourned for a period of six months or in some cases, a year. The case may then be dismissed as long as the defendant's record remains clean. It is not a form of probation nor is it a conviction.

Benedicto's original misdemeanor drug charge was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal, and her marijuana violation, was dismissed.

Page, whose case was called last, also had his felony drug charge reduced to a misdemeanor. The misdemeanor was then adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.

Page, like Ford and Benedicto, must comply with the conditions of his adjournment for six months and the case will be dismissed.

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