Boy George's Big Brother ban plea rejected

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The Independent Online

Former Culture Club singer Boy George was evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother (CBB) house today before the programme starts.

The 48-year-old singer and DJ - real name George O'Dowd - was seeking at the High Court to quash a decision by the Probation Service banning him from the Channel 4 programme, which begins on January 3.



But Mr Justice Bean dismissed his application.



The singer is free under licence after serving four months of his 15-month sentence for assaulting and falsely imprisoning rent boy Audun Carlsen, 29.



Alison MacDonald, representing Boy George, told the judge on Tuesday that the "internationally-renowned singer-songwriter and DJ" was challenging the probation service's decision to revoke the permission given by his supervising probation officer allowing him to appear on the show.



She said the decision was based on fears that the service "would get another kicking" in the media if Boy George was allowed to appear and it would undermine public confidence in the justice system.



But she said the probation service licence was designed to monitor the singer's behaviour, protect the public and rehabilitate rather than punish him.



Boy George admitted that heroin and other drugs had "got him into trouble" and that under their influence he behaved "in an appalling way" towards Mr Carlsen. He deeply regretted it and "wholly deserved" his prison sentence.



But she said he now wanted to rebuild his career and reputation.



It would be wrong to punish Boy George by not allowing him to appear on Big Brother, she said.



Newspaper reports say he has already agreed a £200,000 fee to take part in the show.



Richard Clayton QC, representing the Probation Service, argued that allowing George to use the show to promote his status as a celebrity and earn "a lucrative sum of money" could undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system.



It would also pose "a high level of risk" to the reputation of the London Probation Service.



Papers before the High Court said George handcuffed his victim to a hook next to a bed and Mr Carlsen, shaking and crying, thought he was going to be killed, but managed to escape from George's flat.



George had bondage equipment with him and Mr Carlsen said he was hit on the back of his neck and arm at least twice with a chain as he escaped.



The singer-songwriter was released on licence on May 11 and restrictions included "permanently residing" at an address approved by a probation officer, and giving notification of any approved change of address.



George, who is living in Hampstead, north London, was allowed to perform at Brighton Gay Pride on August 1 and to work as a DJ, and to give live performances.



But his request to be allowed to participate in CBB was rejected by Paul Wilson, chief officer for London Probation, on December 9.

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