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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Pop star Ryan cleared of assaults
Lee Ryan arrives at court
Mr Ryan denied the charges against him
Pop star Lee Ryan has been cleared of assaulting two photographers outside a London nightclub.

But the singer with boy band Blue, from Vauxhall, south London, was found guilty of two counts of criminal damage by Horseferry Road Magistrates.

He was ordered to pay a total of 500 compensation to the photographers for smashing their cameras.

Mr Ryan admitted punching and kicking the equipment outside the 10 Rooms, near Piccadilly Circus, last December.

The singer's solicitor Nick Freeman told the court on Tuesday the paparazzi outside the club had been like a "pack of wolves", eager to get a picture of Mr Ryan with a girl he had met inside the club.

We always said he had behaved reasonably and always disputed the assaults
Solicitor Nick Freeman

Tanya Mills, 23, is profoundly deaf and Mr Ryan said he threatened to break the photographers' cameras because she was scared.

He told the court earlier polite requests to leave the pair alone had failed and the photographers' behaviour was the worst he had experienced in his four years of fame.

District Judge Caroline Tubbs accepted the defence's argument that Mr Ryan had been acting in self-defence and dismissed the assault charges.

Mr Ryan was ordered to pay freelance photographer David Abiaw 300 compensation and the Big Pictures photo agency 200 for the damage to equipment used by Conor Nolan.

Proud mother

Mr Freeman said the star was "extremely relieved".

"We always said he had behaved reasonably and always disputed the assaults.

"That decision has been vindicated today. He wants to get on with his career and move forward."

The singer's mother Sheila said she was pleased with the verdict and proud her son had been "protecting" someone.

The judge refused an application for Mr Ryan to pay court costs.


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