Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Shakin' Stevens: Accuser 'wants five minutes of fame'

Michael Barrett, better known as pop star Shakin Stevens, appeared in court at Ballymena
Michael Barrett, aka Shakin' Stevens, gave evidence in court

Former pop star Shakin' Stevens has accused a photographer who he is charged with assaulting of "wanting his five minutes of fame".

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

However, Mr Barrett said he was "100% definitely sure" he had never touched the photographer or his camera.

He accused Mr McNeice of gatecrashing the concert at a Ballymena hotel.

Asked by a prosecuting lawyer if he was "annoyed" about being charged, Mr Barrett replied: "I am not annoyed, I am frustrated when you think that one man can cause this mess and cost thousands and thousands of pounds, and thinks it is all a big joke."

Mr Barrett said signs were erected warning the audience that no photos could be taken during his performance.

He said he could not just let Mr McNiece take photographs during a live concert as it was not allowed, adding that if he had "not stopped him he would have continued taking terrible photographs" and that he had lifted the microphone stand in "the spur of the moment".

The singer dismissed as "absolute rubbish" that he had reacted in an "aggressive way".

Earlier, he said he was surprised that the stage in Ballymena was so small.

He told Ballymena Magistrates' Court he was used to playing much bigger venues than Tullyglass Hotel.

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

Website joke

Earlier on Thursday, the prosecution called its final two witnesses.

One woman said she saw the singer ushering the cameraman away with his microphone stand but she did not see it make contact with him.

Another woman said she saw it hit him and jolt his head back.

It was put to her under cross-examination that she had joked with Mr McNeice on Bebo about the case.

The defence lawyer said that in one of her website entries, she wrote: "Can't let my good buddy down - shaking all over."

Two members of the band said they saw the singer using his microphone stand to block him from taking pictures but they said it did not hit Mr McNeice.

On Wednesday, Mr McNeice said his camera was broken and he was left "shocked and embarrassed" by the incident last December.

The case continues.



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