Page last updated at 15:34 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Pop star Shakin' Stevens denies photographer attack

Michael Barrett, better known as pop star Shakin Stevens, appeared in court at Ballymena
Michael Barrett, aka Shakin' Stevens is to appear in court at Ballymena

A freelance photographer who claims he was assaulted by pop star Shakin' Stevens has been giving evidence at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

Hugo McNeice said the singer, real name Michael Barrett, 61, pushed his microphone stand into his camera as he took pictures of him performing.

Mr McNeice said his camera was broken and he was left shocked by the incident at Tullyglass Hotel last December.

Cardiff-born Mr Barrett, who denies assault, is to testify on Thursday.

Mr McNeice told District Judge Bernie Kelly he had been tasked to take pictures of a colleague interviewing Mr Barrett before the concert, but that was called off because of timing.

The photographer said he later returned to the concert and after talking to a few friends and security staff began "shooting a few frames" to get the singer's attention on stage.

He said 'Shakey' continued to sing and danced his way towards Mr McNeice who claimed, he thought the performer was about to give him "a nice tight shot", but instead felt the microphone stand hit the lens of his camera which "jolted back into my head".

Mr McNeice claimed he was "shocked and embarrassed" by the incident and walked off.

'Not funny'

Under cross-examination from defence lawyer David Russell, the photographer denied he had found the whole episode "at all amusing or the least bit funny", maintaining he had been "in shock".

However, he did accept that in newspaper articles and an interview with Radio Ulster, it did appear as if the matter was being "joked about" with him allegedly saying he would like to play "All shook up".

Mr McNeice, who said he was more amused at the way the story had developed, claimed that on the night in question, "it wasn't amusing".

He also rejected the singer's version of events that at all times he was attempting to use the microphone stand to block him photographing, and that Shakin' was "adamant there was no contact between the microphone stand and you or your camera".

Shakin' Stevens was one of the top-selling UK male artists of the 1980s, with hits including This Ole House and Merry Christmas Everyone.



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