'Excitable' Mike Reid heckler to challenge court conviction
PUBLISHED: 10:05 13 March 2006 | UPDATED: 08:58 24 May 2010
A HECKLER who repeatedly interrupted soap star Mike Reid during a blue comedy show in Weston admitted he was 'excitable' at the time, a court heard. Staff at The Playhouse in Weston told crutch wielding Graham Flynn to quieten down after the 51-year-old p
A HECKLER who repeatedly interrupted soap star Mike Reid during a blue comedy show in Weston admitted he was 'excitable' at the time, a court heard.Staff at The Playhouse in Weston told crutch wielding Graham Flynn to quieten down after the 51-year-old persistently interrupted the former EastEnders star.But the cat-calling continued and reached a finale with Flynn making his way to the front of the stage during a rendition of Frank Sinatra's That's Life.As staff tried to remove Flynn from the theatre, he swore and swung his crutch, striking theatre manager Barry North.Flynn, of Lonsdale Avenue, denied charges of assault and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour.Giving evidence during a trial at North Somerset Magistrates Court in Weston, Flynn said: "I didn't try to go on stage, far from it. I held on to the stage. I was pounced on and grabbed by Mr North. I think I told him to f*** off. I was being attacked."Flynn re-enacted the scene in court using a single crutch. But in doing so he accidentally knocked over a cup of water, struck the clerk's desk and almost hit prosecutor Kevin Withey with the crutch.Flynn was later told to keep his distance by magistrates after he clung to the bench while continuing an excited demonstration of what happened in The Playhouse.Flynn told the court: "I didn't deliberately hit Mr North."Mr Withey, prosecuting, said: "As we've seen from your demonstration when you almost hit a computer and almost hit me, you can get quite excitable. Flailing a crutch about in a confined space is like that, it's going to hit Mr North."Flynn said: "Most definitely."Mr Withey said: "It's fair to say you were under the influence of drink and excitable."Flynn said: "No."Mr Withey said: "You're excitable giving evidence now."Flynn said: "I can get excitable without drinking."Mr Withey said: "Precisely."Flynn said: "I do talk a lot and can be loud and sing, but I've never raised my fists to anyone. I abhor violence."Neil Treherne, defending, said: "If I go to The Playhouse and there's a blue comedy, I expect heckling and I expect there's going to be foul language."All the witnesses accepted that language in that environment was not untoward. Mr Flynn is an excitable chap. He's perhaps guilty of stupidity, but not of these offences. I ask you to acquit Mr Flynn of both charges."Chairman of the bench, Michael Cooper, said: "What started off as acceptable behaviour degenerated into abuse and disruption of the show."Mr North gave evidence that he suffered abusive behaviour from Mr Flynn and he called him a c*** and told him to f*** off. Mr Flynn in evidence admitted using these words."We are satisfied that the prosecution had proved that the defendant was aware that his behaviour was disorderly. We don't feel he was acting in self defence."Flynn was given an 18-month conditional discharge, ordered to pay £250 costs and £50 compensation for assaulting Mr North. He was also given an 18 -month conditional discharge to run concurrently for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.Outside court Flynn said he was appalled and would challenge his conviction for assault.