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Actor's friends 'in drunken high jinks'

A DRINKING party in a Seychelles restaurant, involving the actor Oliver Reed and the man suing him for damages over an alleged injury, included one member of the party urinating into a champagne glass from another table to shrieks from the public. The 1986 high jinks, the High Court in London was told yesterday, were witnessed by the Seychelles minister of culture.

Paul la Mare, a sound mixer on the film Castaway, which Mr Reed was filming on the islands, told the court he had been with his girlfriend at the La Reserve restaurant when Mr Reed, Reg Prince and John 'Ginger' Hughes arrived. All three, according to Mr Hughes, had been drinking and were 'pizzled'.

Mr Prince, a stand-in for Mr Reed in most of his films, is suing the actor over back injuries he alleges were sustained when Mr Reed threw him over the banisters of the beach-side restaurant. He claims the injuries effectively ended his film work.

But Mr Hughes told the court - as did Mr Reed on Tuesday - that the actor had been trying to avoid Mr Prince, pushed him aside, and he fell over the banisters down on to sand. Mr Hughes also said that before he and Mr Prince set out for the restaurant, Mr Prince had shown him a 10in diving knife, which he wrapped inside a towel. He said 'Reg told me he never went anywhere without being tooled up.'

The threesome had been drinking 'atomic cocktails' at Mr Reed's hotel before leaving for the restaurant. They continued drinking beer and champagne at the restaurant.

Mr la Mare said their rowdy behaviour - including mock arguments and Mr Reed performing a handstand on the banisters of the restaurant pier - was causing stress to customers, including the Seychelles minister of culture.

After the fall, which according to Mr Hughes and Mr la Mare, appeared to have little effect on Mr Prince, he returned to the pier, and branished a knife 'with a long black handle' at Mr Reed. The knife was taken away by Mr la Mare's girlfriend and thrown into the sea.

The hearing continues.