BONO STICKS UP FOR REM PAL

The U2 singer calls the REM star's alleged air rage a "bizarre event"...

Rock legend BONO made a surprise appearance at the trial of R.E.M guitarist PETER BUCK today (March 25), describing his friend’s behaviour on board a transatlantic flight as “a bizarre event”.

The U2

frontman, real name Paul David Hewson, arrived at Isleworth Crown Court for the afternoon session to act as a character reference for Buck, who is accused of going on a drunken rampage during the BA flight from Seattle to Heathrow.

Bono said, in the 17 years they had known each other, he had never

seen Buck drunk and claimed the American is “famous for being peaceable”.

Bono, dressed in a black open neck shirt, black jacket and trousers, entered court Number Seven, took the witness stand and greeted Judge John Crocker with a courteous “Hello there.”

After swearing the oath and giving his full real name, he was asked by Richard Ferguson QC, for Buck: “Known as Bono?” to which he replied: “That’s right, for my sins.”

Asked if he knew Buck, he said: “Yes, I know him very well. I have known him since 1985 when his group R.E.M and my group U2

played at the Milton Keynes Bowl together. It was a friendship between our two groups.”

Mr Ferguson asked how often he saw the guitarist, to which Bono replied: “It can be every year or every couple of years. There is no real set pattern because they are based in Athens, Georgia and we are in Dublin.

“They played with us a good few times, our groups’ work has been parallel for the same amount of years. They are one of the only groups who have had the same longevity as our group.”

He added: “There has been a certain amount of social interaction just because we like each other’s company and there have been professional engagements as well.”

When asked if he had ever seen Buck worse for drink, Bono replied: “I have never ever seen him drunk.” When asked the same question about drugs, he said: “I have absolutely never seen

him taking drugs.”

Bono also said he came forward to help his friend because Buck “is actually famously known for being a

peaceable person. Of all the people in the music business, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read about this. I had to twist his arm to get him to a boxing match once because he thought it was too aggressive a sport.

“I just wanted to stand up and be counted. This is ridiculous. 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,” he added.

After spending just five minutes in the witness box, Bono left court saying: “Thanks very much. Bye bye”, waving at the judge and Buck, who looked on from

the dock at the back of court.

Buck, 45, is alleged to have gone on the rampage on board a British Airways flight from Seattle to London on April 20 last year. It is claimed he sprayed cabin crew with yoghurt and smashed crockery. He is alleged to have assaulted two cabin crew members, that he mistook a food trolley for a CD player and tried to insert a disc into it as well as trying to sit next to a female passenger he had never met, claiming that she was his wife.

He denies being drunk on board an aircraft, assaulting cabin staff and

damaging property.

The trial continues.