After being found guilty of a number of offences in January, Lee Ryan is now attempting to reverse his plea for drunkenly assaulting a police officer.
The Blue star, 39, was arrested on 31 July 2022 after being extremely disruptive during a flight from Glasgow to London. He was then found guilty by magistrates after a trial in January of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards cabin crew and racially aggravated assault.
Lee also admitted an offence of being drunk on an aircraft, telling the trial he drank a whole bottle of port in the British Airways lounge before boarding the flight to London City Airport, and admitted assaulting a police officer – the plea he is now trying to reverse.
At Lee's trial at Ealing Magistrates’ Court in January, a female cabin crew member told how he called her "beautiful" and told her needed to "kiss" her.
She said: “He was making comments about my complexion, you’re my chocolate darling, my chocolate cookie, and I’m going to have your chocolate children.”
She went on: “It felt like he was saying I was beautiful for a black person because of the way he was describing my colour.”
The flight attendant said Ryan later approached her from behind, saying: “Before I get off this plane I need a kiss from you.” After telling him to “stay away”, she said he grabbed both her wrists before passengers intervened.
Describing how she felt, the flight attendant added: “I was intimidated, I felt a bit embarrassed like I wasn’t doing my duty properly. To get comments about my colour whether intentional or not, it was just unacceptable and so derogatory.
“I just felt like it wasn’t fair and I shouldn’t have to put up with it. I don’t go to work to be assaulted or harassed.”
Lee appeared in the dock to give evidence and admitted to drinking an entire bottle of port before boarding the flight in July after it was delayed.
He told the court of “annoying” a passenger next to him by asking what book he was reading, with no recollection of what occurred after that.
The pop star went on: “I’m sorry. My band member is black, I’m not racist, I’ve had black girlfriends, mixed-race girlfriends. It was banter, just drunk banter I suppose, there was no malice or intention to upset anyone.”
He added: “I didn’t mean to cause any distress to anyone or be racist, it was just a poor choice of words I suppose.”
Ryan also told the court his actions were merely “playful” and denied the use of the word chocolate was racist.
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After being found guilty of all charges, the singer is now trying to reverse his plea for admitting to assaulting a police officer.
A hearing was due to take place at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on 9 March but was rescheduled to 15 March.
Court staff confirmed an application has been made by Lee's defence team to vacate the guilty plea for assault of an emergency worker.
The application means Lee's sentencing, which was due to take place at the end of February, has been placed on hold.
The vacation of plea hearing is listed for April. If successful, a new trial to hear evidence about the assault could take place.
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