By Melissa Clark
AN arrest warrant has been issued for shamed reggae star Finley Quaye after he failed to show up at court to be sentenced for racially aggravated assault.
The former chart star was due to be sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today after earlier admitting slapping a woman and spitting in her face last October.
But Quaye, 38, who is believed to have earned and then lost a fortune from 90s hits such as Sunday Shining, Your Love Gets Sweeter and Even After All, failed to show up – instead sending an email to his lawyer claiming to be bankrupt.
When his case was called, his defence lawyer, David Cairns told the court that Mr Quaye had email him yesterday afternoon.
He said: “He said in an email that he was recently made bankrupt.”
When judge Fiona Reith questioned Mr Cairns over why Quaye was not at court, he explained: “We have been in touch via email.”
Judge Fiona Reith ruled that a warrant for his arrest is now active.
She said: “I am worried in the way which he is conducting himself.
“A non-appearance is not good.
“A warrant is now out for his arrest.”
At a previous hearing, Mr Cairns told the court he had been put “in an awkward position2 by Mr Quaye” who had not paid his lawyers fee.
At the hearing, which Quaye attended, the Sheriff said it would have been “sensible” for him to have paid the fee.
Quaye responded: “Will I have to pay today? I’m waiting for a transfer to come through. I’m 24 hours late with that.”
The sheriff had agreed to defer sentencing until today so that the former star could find money to pay Mr Cairns and for social work reports to be prepared.
But she warned Quaye, who currently lives in London: “You have to be careful to come back to that date, there’s no excuse not to come.”
The Edinburgh-born singer admitted slapping and spitting on Jobely Flores, 36, in an unprovoked assault.
The attack, which happened on Edinburgh’s Leith Walk, was racially aggravated, Quaye admitted.
Quaye had initially denied the crime, but changed his plea earlier this year.
The Metropolitan Police said they are ready to track down the reggae star if asked by Scots police.
A spokesman for the Met said: “If a warrant has been issued and another police force asks us to help find someone then we will of course help out.
“The location of an individual is up to the local authority where the warrant has been issued – the Met therefore cannot take any action without being asked by Scottish officers.
“If a person has been detained down here, then it would also be the responsibility of that police service in question to arrange for the transportation of that individual back to Scotland.”
A spokeswoman for Banana Management, who act as booking agents for Quaye, said: “I had heard he had money problems but what those were I’m not exactly sure.”
According to his Facebook page, Quaye was scheduled to embark on a tour of the US next year as well as play a benefit gig in February 2013 in London for C4WS – a homeless charity.
A spokeswoman for C4WS confirmed the booking for the show at The Scala in King’s Cross but declined to comment further.
Finley Quaye was signed to the Polydor record label in the 90s but left after just a year without releasing an album.
No one at the label was available for comment.
The singer has announced on his Facebook site that he had a new album called 28th February Rd ready to be released on October 20.
On the page, Quaye criticises the X Factor and hails himself as the saviour of popular music.
He posted: “Sitting as I do on a mountain of exquisite but unreleased songs, the shallow world of pop has become more enamoured with the X Factor instant hit and instant cash reward, than true talent.
“Thankfully this looks set to change with the promise of my music once more finding itself promoted in the manner it deserves.”
The former star won the Best reggae Act award in 1997 and scored two top 20 hits from his first album.
He has worked with other major artists including Iggy Pop and reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.
He has been supported on stage by Amy Winehouse.
But Quaye was ditched by his label and several comeback albums have flopped.
The son of noted jazz musician Cab Kayle, Quaye grew up not far from where the assault happened.
The singer’s mother, Sharon McGowan, died of a heroin overdose when he was just ten.
In 2010 the reggae singer was fined £650 for cannabis possession.
He was also accused of biting a tour manager at a London gig in 2009, but had the assault charge against him dropped after the alleged victim did not attend court.