Pop star must wait for court hearing

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The Independent Online
George Michael, the pop singer, suffered a further blow yesterday in his legal battle to free himself of his contract with the record company Sony.

He had applied for a speedy hearing of his appeal against Mr Justice Jonathan Parker's ruling in June that he should stand by the contract he signed with Sony in 1988. But the Master of the Rolls, Sir Thomas Bingham, sitting with Lord Justice Hoffman andLord Justice Waite, said Michael's lawyers had "failed to come anywhere close" to showing that his case had the urgency required to jump the long queue of pending cases in the Court of Appeal. He must wait until February 1996.

Charles Gray QC, for Michael, had told the judges that Mr Justice Parker's ruling meant his client, 30, was contractually tied to Sony until 2003 - and "probably longer". But as he was genuinely unable to work for the company, his career was completely frozen and was becoming "a wasting asset".

His root concern was to resume working for the sake of his career, although the financial consequences of the deadlock were also appalling and irreparable. His last two albums made gross profits of £60m, the lion's share of which went to Sony, Mr Gray s

a id. "Millions of people all over the world listen to this man's music. There is deprivation over a huge field."

Concern in the music industry about the implications of the case also justified the appeal being heard quickly, he added.

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