Accused of drunken debauchery on an international flight last April, Peter Buck was painted a saint in his air rage trial Monday (March 25) by someone who would be considered a powerful witness in any courtroom: U2 singer and worldwide philanthropist Bono. Providing character reference for the R.E.M. guitarist, who has pleaded not guilty to assault charges and all other allegations, Bono took the stand at Isleworth Crown Court for five minutes and testified that his friend “is famously known for being a peaceable person.”
“I have never ever seen him drunk,” Bono told the jury, according to reports. “I have absolutely never seen him taking drugs.”
Bono said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he read about the incident, in which Buck allegedly assaulted members of a British Airways flight crew and damaged crockery after they refused to continue serving him alcohol on a flight from Seattle to Heathrow Airport in London.
Buck’s first trial was called off after one day in December. In the re-trial, which began March 18, prosecutors have claimed the guitarist drank about 15 glasses of wine in the first three hours of the flight before proceeding to mistake a hostess trolley for a CD player, claim a stranger was his wife and cover crew members with yogurt.
“This is ridiculous,” Bono testified. “I just wanted to stand up and be counted. I don’t know what must have happened to him. It is certainly a bizarre event and unusual. He is a very quiet man. It is hard to get him to go on tour because he loves his kids so much. I had to twist his arm to get him to a boxing match once because he thought it was too aggressive a sport.”
Bono said he met Buck in1985 when R.E.M. and U2 played at the Milton Keynes Bowl and has seen the guitarist yearly since then. “Our groups’ work have been parallel for the same amount of years,” he said. “They are one of the only groups who have had the same longevity as our group.”
Buck testified last week that he downed a sleeping pill with a glass of wine and does not remember the events that occurred afterward.
The guitarist was flying overseas April 20 on his way to an R.E.M. performance at the South Africa Freedom Day Concert in London’s Trafalgar Square on April 29. The other members of R.E.M. were on a different flight.
Buck’s trial is scheduled to conclude later this week.