The singer incurs the judge's wrath because he was celebrating an NME single of the week...

Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder was dragged over the coals by a judge today (Thursday) for missing a court date – because he was on a “bender” after being awarded SINGLE OF THE WEEK in this week’s NME!

Ryder was due in Manchester Crown Court yesterday (July 12) to give evidence against sales manager James Butler, 31, who was alleged to have attacked the star during a road rage row.

But after the singer failed to show, the case had to be put back for a day at an estimated cost of #8,000.

When asked why he had missed the date by Judge Anthony Ensor, the singer replied: “I was on a bender”.

The court heard the star had been in London at a party to celebrate the launch of his new single ‘Barcelona’ and thought the case wasn’t until Thursday.

Ryder told NME afterwards: “I really thought the case was supposed to be on Thursday and I’d been down in London to meet a few mates.

“I was celebrating getting single of the week with ‘Barcelona’ (in this week’s issue of NME dated July 15) and carrying on the party from last week’s book launch. It was only when I heard the police had been looking for me that I realised I must have missed the date.

“I lost me mobile phone as well so no-one could get in touch, and had a massive hangover from drinking pints of quadruple vodka and orange.”

The charges of causing actual bodily harm and dangerous driving were dropped against Butler due to lack of evidence. But afterwards Ryder was hauled before the court to explain his absence at the previous day’s hearing.

He only escaped a hefty fine due to a legal technicality because no summons had been issued against him.

The judge said: “Far too much public money is being wasted by witnesses not attending on the date they are supposed to.I asked him where he was and he said he had gone on a bender.

“It would have been my intention to fine him, clearly I do not have the power to do so and he is very fortunate, but he should be reprimanded.”

The court earlier heard how Ryder was thrown from a pushbike after being rammed by a driver following an alleged ‘road rage’ incident.

Just moments earlier the singing star, whose band are about to support Oasis on their British tour, had been involved with a row with James Butler at some traffic lights.

Butler then was alleged to have turned his car around and followed Ryder up Wythenshawe Road, Manchester, before running into the back of the cycle sending the popster sprawling on the pavement.

Ryder suffered cuts and bruises in the fall but refused an ambulance ride to hospital, but the case was dropped against Butler after Ryder appeared in Manchester Crown Court to say he may have run into the car by mistake.

He told the court he had been out drinking the night before and had only had a “couple of hours sleep” when he took to the road.

He said: “It’s a pretty narrow road and I was more out in the middle than in the gutter. I was hit by a car which hit me on the back wheel I think.

“I went up in the air and then landed on the pavement with my hands out in front of me. I got cuts and bruises to my legs and a cut around my groin.

“At first I was out of it for a few seconds, then a lad came over to help me while I was still on the ground.”

Ryder said he had had a row with Butler between 10 and 30 minutes before the accident after he claims the defendant nearly knocked him off his bike at a junction.

He said: “We were swearing and that, There was a woman in the car and she was swearing too. But I remember seeing that the car which knocked me over didn’t have a woman in the passenger seat.”

Asked by defence barrister Ms Kate Blackwell whether he may have knocked into the car which hit him, he replied: “it’s possible.”

He added: “I hadn’t ridden a bike for a few years and I wasn’t alert. It’s possible that I went into the car rather than the car hit me.”

Butler, 31, from Didsbury, who had been shopping with his wife and daughter before the incident on July 17 last year denied causing actual bodily harm and dangerous driving.

The Judge ordered the jury to return not guilty verdicts after defence counsel Ms Blackwell claimed there was not evidence for a safe conviction.

Butler will face two counts of failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident at a later date.

Ryder added on leaving court: “I’m just glad the judge didn’t send me down for seven days for contempt of court.

“I basically realised I wasn’t sure that the bloke accused of knocking me over was the one who did it and I wouldn’t want to send anyone to prison.”