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"Peace" Activist Puts UK Rocker in Coma By: New Zealand Herald
NZ Herald | Thursday, July 06, 2006


A New Zealand peace activist is facing serious assault charges after he allegedly punched a rock singer in London, leaving the man in a coma.
 
Christiaan Briggs, 30, who spent three weeks in Iraq with the Truth Justice Peace Human Shield Action Group in 2003, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to face a charge of grievous bodily harm.
 
Police say the incident occurred on June 22 when Briggs allegedly punched 19-year-old Billy Leeson, causing the rising rock star to hit his head on the ground.
 
Leeson, the lead singer with rock band Les Incompetents - who have supported Pete Doherty's group Babyshambles - was "still very ill", said Scotland Yard spokesman James Nadin.
 
His condition was described as "critical but stable".
 
Mr Nadin said an argument broke out between the pair after Briggs allegedly "made advances" towards Leeson's girlfriend.
 
Police allege Briggs hit Leeson after getting off a bus at Camden Rd in Islington and left the scene.
 
Briggs handed himself in to police on Sunday and was arrested.
 
The Herald understands his mother, Karyn, has flown from the family's Napier home to London to support her son.
 
Briggs' father, John, did not want to comment but said: "It just worries me what they're publishing over there is just one side of the story, not both, so you people should be wary of that."
 
Asked if his son disputed the facts as presented by the police, he said: "I don't want to say anything until the court case comes."
 
Christiaan Briggs, a technician with a firm of chartered surveyors in North London, was released on conditional bail of £10,000 ($30,275) and ordered to surrender his passport. He has also been ordered to observe a nightly 10pm to 7am curfew at his sister's house in Kingston, Southwest London.
 
Mr Nadin said Briggs was to reappear at Snaresbrook Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on July 17.

Briggs was a London-based list candidate for the Green Party in the 2002 election.

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