Stephen Tompkinson is planning to claim self-defence when he faces trial next year on a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
The ‘DCI Banks’ and ‘Brassed Off’ actor, 56, is headed for a jury trial set for May 2, 2023, after being accused of “unlawfully and maliciously” inflicting GBH on Karl Poole in a fight on May 30 2021.
During a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday morning (07.09.22), Tompkinson, who appeared via video link from an undisclosed location, pleaded not guilty.
Tompkinson’s lawyer said during the court appearance the actor will argue it was a case of self-defence in a trial expected to last around five days.
The actor could face a five-year prison term if found guilty.
Tompkinson’s alleged victim is said to have been left with a double skull fracture and is understood to not recall much of the clash.
Mr Poole has also reportedly been left unable to work.
Tompkinson, of Whitley Bay in North Tyneside, reportedly showed no emotion or reaction during the brief court appearance.
A further pre-trial hearing will take place on February 24, which Tomkinson is not obligated to attend.
The actor’s lawyer Mr Birkby added the case has already attracted “substantial interest”, and stressed the importance of Tompkinson’s right to a fair trial.
Mr Birkby said: “It is important for everyone to note, he has pleaded not guilty and the issue to be tried is one of self defence.”
Judge Robert Adams granted Tompkinson conditional bail and advised him to keep in touch with his solicitor and attend court on the trial date.
The actor confirmed he understood the court proceedings and thanked the court at the end of the hearing.
Tomkinson’s TV credits include ‘Wild at Heart’ and ‘Ballykissangel’, with the actor critically acclaimed for his portrayal of a broke family man miner in ‘Brassed Off’.
He first found fame as rogue reporter Damien Day in 1990s comedy ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’, for which he won the 1994 British Comedy Award for best TV actor.
Tompkinson went on to seal his place as a household name playing Father Peter Clifford in ‘Ballykissangel’ in 1996, the same year ‘Brassed Off’ became a cinema smash.
He is next due to star in ITV drama ‘The Long Shadow’, about Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe.
The twice divorced dad-of-one is thought to have been with his partner Jess Johnson, 41, since 2017.