R.E.M.'s Buck To Be Retried For Air Rage Incident

By | December 18, 2001 at 12:00 AM

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck will be retried beginning March 4 on assault charges and other allegations stemming from incidents on an April flight from Seattle to London.

Isleworth Crown Court Judge John Crocker dismissed Buck’s first trial on November 13, after a day of opening arguments from the prosecution. He did not make the reason for the dismissal public.

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service, which monitors the justice system in England, told Reuters Monday (December 17) that Buck’s lawyers had argued there had been an abuse of process during the trial. Neither the court nor the CPS were available for comment.

Buck has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting cabin services manager Mario Agius and stewardess Holly Ward, being drunk on an airplane and damaging British Airways crockery.

The incident allegedly occurred on Buck’s 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.

During his opening statement at the first trial, prosecutor Edward Lewis told the jury that Buck consumed 15 glasses of wine, choked a flight attendant with his tie and tore up a “yellow card” from the captain, which warned that the flight could be diverted if his behavior continued. R.E.M.’s manager, Bertis Downs, had no comment.

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