Bono At Peter Buck's Trial: 'This Is Ridiculous'

U2 frontman provides character reference for R.E.M. guitarist at air rage trial.

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 (see "Peter Buck Arrested

For Busting Up First Class").

Buck's first trial was called off after one day in December (see "R.E.M.'s

Buck To Be Retried For Air Rage Incident"). 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 in 1985 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.