Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Shakin' Stevens faces assault charge

Eighties pop idol Shakin' Stevens has appeared at a Ballymena court to explain how he allegedly left a Press photographer “all shook up” last December.

The 61-year-old Buckinghamshire-based artist, real name Michael Barrett, is accused of assaulting photographer and self-confessed ‘Shaky’ fan Hugo McNeice and smashing a camera lens during a concert at Ballymena's Tullyglass Hotel.

Mr McNeice told District Judge Bernie Kelly he'd been tasked to picture a colleague interviewing Barrett — the most successful recording artist of the 1980s — before the concert on December 3 last year but it 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, he began “shooting a few frames” to get Shakin’ Stevens’ attention on stage.

Still singing, Shaky apparently danced his way towards Mr McNeice, who claimed that he thought the singer 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”. The photographer claimed he was “shocked and embarrassed” by the incident and walked off.

Mr McNeice said it was only the next day while on another assignment that he realised his camera lens was damaged.

Under cross-examination from defence lawyer David Russell the photographer denied that he'd found the whole eposide “at all amusing — or the least bit funny”, claiming that he was “in shock”.

Later the photographer also rejected the singer's version of events that, at all times, he was attempting to use the microphone stand to block him taking pictures, and that Shaky was “adament there was no contact between the microphone stand and you or your camera”.

At hearing.

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