A REALITY TV contestant failed to appear at court on Wednesday on an assault charge because she did not want to miss a modelling job interview.
Harleen Nottay could now be remanded in custody after Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard she was worried about damaging her career if she missed the interview.
The 20-year-old former contestant on Britain’s Next Top Model was due to face charges that she attacked Emma Halliday at Lulu nightclub in Edinburgh.
Defence agent Paul Dunn told the court that she pleaded not guilty by letter to the offence.
He said: “She’s not in court today because she has an interview for a modelling job.
“I’m advised it would be of significant damage to her career if she did not turn up for this interview.”
Sheriff Derek McIntyre said Ms Nottay could find herself remanded in custody for not turning up.
He also said that her failure to turn up was potentially a contempt of court.
Mr Dunn asked for the case to be continued for a week.
Sheriff McIntyre agreed to the delay and said he wanted the reasons for Ms Nottay’s non-attendance explained at the next hearing.
Fiscal depute Adrian Higgins agreed with the sheriff that the situation was “irregular”.
Mr Higgins said there was no reason why “special consideration” should be given to model engagements as opposed to any other profession.
He said the Crown could consider a separate complaint for failing to appear in court.
Ms Nottay, a Sikh, was one of the finalists on the TV show, which boasts supermodel Elle Macpherson as a judge.
She denied attacking Ms Halliday at the upmarket club in the city’s George Street. She is said to have seized hold of her alleged victim by the hair.
The charge also claims that Ms Nottay, of Roslin, Midlothian, pulled her alleged victim to the ground and punched her and kicked her repeatedly about the head and face.
Ms Halliday is said to have been injured as a result of the alleged attack, which was said to have taken place on July 26 last year.
Ms Nottay was eliminated from last year’s show just missing out on a place in the final 10.
The business studies student was in tears as she was eliminated from the show.
But she said her lowest moment came when she had to simulate a threesome earlier in the series.
Ms Nottay said: “Whereas a lot of the girls just had to stand next to male models and pose, I was put on the bed, rolling about, straddling the guy, all that stuff.
“I definitely think I had the most revealing, most intense situation and I found it unfair that I was put into the worst scenario there could have been.
“I’d said that I wouldn’t mind doing lingerie and swimwear but naturally they would be aware that I’d be uncomfortable with it because of the background that I come from and the backlash there might be against me from the community.
“So I think for the story and the entertainment of it all, that’s what they got me to do.
“They are making a TV show and I truly believe it’s an entertainment show more than a modelling show.”
Viewers saw Ms Nottay complain she felt “degraded” after the photoshoot and her distress was echoed by other contestants on the reality show.
Harleen received praise from supermodel Macpherson during the show for her physical appearance.