8 JUNE 2007

Paris Hilton has been ordered to return to court on Friday after city prosecutors said the decision to release her from jail early and give her an electronic monitoring tag should have been made by a judge, not the Sheriff's Department. Officials are arguing she must return to jail to complete her 23-day sentence. Judge Michael Sauer, who originally had said tagging would not be an option, will see her at 9am LA time to consider the case for her house arrest.

But Sheriff Lee Baca, who approved Paris' "reassignment", has said he "can override a judge's sentencing order" and was within his rights to do so. The 26-year-old heiress, meanwhile, returned to her Hollywood Hills home in the early hours of Thursday morning, receiving visits from her mum Kathy and dad Rick who came bearing a hot water bottle. There have also been deliveries of food gift baskets. Paris has thanked the Sheriff's Department and jail personnel for "treating me fairly and professionally". "I have learned a great deal from this ordeal and hope that others have learned from my mistakes," she said in a statement.

The heiress is apparently suffering from unspecified medical condition and, "after extensive consultation with medical personnel", was allowed to return to her house, where she will confined for a further 40 days, said Steve Whitmore of the County Sheriff's Department. The president of the LA Deputy Sheriffs' Association has said "there appears to be preferential treatment", however, as he insists the women's-only facility has adequate medical resources to deal with any complaint.

Not everyone agrees that she should be returned to the facility, though. "Sentencing Paris to jail for an extended period of time was an example of a celebrity being treated more harshly than an average person," says New York civil liberties lawyer E Christopher Murray, who argues house arrest was a more appropriate sentence.

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Paris has been allowed, on unspecified medical grounds, to return home under house arrest. The sheriff's decision has split the legal community, however, with some believing she is receiving preferential treatmentPhoto: © Getty Images
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Currently back at her Hollywood Hills home, the heiress could be returned to the detention facility after Friday's court hearing - if the judge overrules the new sentencePhoto: © Rex

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