Bez makes court outburst after court defeat

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Former Happy Mondays star Bez today lost his appeal against conviction for assault - and was warned he would be re-arrested in the dock if he did not calm down.

Bez, real name Mark Berry, reacted angrily to being told he had failed in his attempt to overturn his conviction for attacking his ex-partner and must pay £500 court costs.

"It's a joke," Bez said from the dock. "I'm going to take this to a higher court.

"I'm not paying nothing, I don't give a shit."

Judge Roger Dutton, hearing the day-long appeal with two magistrates at Manchester Crown Court, told Bez he needed to take legal advice before launching a further appeal to the High Court.

"What a stitch-up," he replied, before the judge's temper finally snapped.

"I would be very careful what you choose to say," Judge Dutton replied. "If you express yourself in that way again I will have you arrested."

The defendant muttered "Bollocks" under his breath, out of hearing of the judge, but quietened down.

Bez, who found fame for his freaky dancing in the Happy Mondays in the late 1980s, was jailed for four weeks in August after a row over money with Monica Ward, the mother of his two-year-old child.

He flew into a rage as he put his hands round her neck and throttled her, Manchester Magistrates' Court heard.

Ms Ward had told the court that he was "looking insane" as he squeezed her neck and kicked down a door in the incident at their flat in Whalley Range, Manchester, on May 24.

He was convicted after a trial and originally given a community order and asked to pay £450 in costs.

But he told chair of the magistrates' bench Marie Cash that he would not obey the sentence, and protested his innocence.

The former Celebrity Big Brother winner was promptly told he was going to jail for one month.

Bez, whose legal costs are being paid by the taxpayer as he is unemployed and legally aided, appealed to overturn the conviction at the higher crown court.

But the crown court appeal case heard that though there were "inconsistencies" in the prosecution claims, the bench rejected his claims of a miscarriage of justice.

The judge said the defendant had shown "a good deal of anger" while giving evidence during the appeal, at one point shouting from the bench to stop Bez "making an exhibition of yourself".

Outside court the defendant was too angry to comment on the outcome.

Peter Eatherall, his solicitor, said it was "unlikely" the case would go to the Court of Appeal.

He read a statement from the defendant: "I am disappointed at the appeal ruling and have undertaken this appeal to clear my name, nothing more."

Mr Eatherall added: "Bez is Bez, there is nothing behind the curtain, that is how he is and what he is. But he is not a violent man."