Shakin' Stevens leaves Ballymena court yesterday after his assault conviction against photographer Hugo McNeice, inset left, was overturned. Stephen Hamilton / Presseye.com
SINGER Shakin' Stevens has been cleared of attacking a Northern Irish press photographer and smashing his camera with a microphone stand during a Christmas concert.
The 63-year-old UK-based artist, whose real name is Michael Barrett, said he had been "vindicated" by the decision of Ballymena county court to quash his assault and criminal damage convictions, and that "justice has been done".
In January last year, he was ordered to pay photographer Hugo McNeice €548 by way of compensation for smashing his camera lens during the Ballymena Tullyglass Hotel Christmas concert and ordered to pay a fine of €343 for assault and criminal damage.
Yesterday the court ruled the photographer was not a "witness of truth" and agreed to the application to throw the case out.
The singer said while he was "disappointed the charges were brought in the first place", he was "absolutely delighted" at the result.
"I feel that the decision of the court has vindicated me and my position. I was always innocent of these charges. Justice has been done," he said.
Mr McNeice said later he was "disgusted at being called a liar".
The photographer had said he had been tasked by his local paper, the 'Ballymena Times', to cover the singer's concert.
"He was singing away, performing and I thought I would get a few nice photographs," Mr McNeice said previously.
"Next thing the microphone stand came down towards the lens. Then it banged the camera and the back of the camera hit my head, he said.