Actor Stephen Tompkinson appears in court to deny GBH charge against man

Actor Stephen Tompkinson has appeared in court and denied inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man.

The 56-year-old, who is best known for starring as Inspector Alan Banks in crime drama series DCI Banks, now faces a trial by jury, which is due to start next May.

During a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court this morning Tompkinson, who appeared via video link from an undisclosed location, pleaded not guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm.

The particulars of the offence are that he is accused of "unlawfully and maliciously" inflicting grievous bodily harm on Karl Poole on May 30 last year.

Stephen Tompkinson.

Tompkinson, of Beech Grove, Whitley Bay, who showed no emotion or reaction during the hearing, will be tried by a jury on May 2 next year.

The trial could take up to five days.

A further pre-trial hearing will take place on February 24, which Tomkinson does not have to attend.

Adam Birkby, defending the actor, said there had been some "salacious" reports on the proceedings so far and the case has attracted "substantial interest" and stressed the importance of Tompkinson's right to a fair trial.

Mr Birkby added: "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 at court on the trial date.

The actor confirmed he understood what had been said at the hearing and thanked the court at its conclusion.

Tompkinson became a household name after starring as Father Peter Clifford in 1996's Ballykissangel, in the same year appearing in hit film Brassed Off as character Phil.

Other notable TV credits include Drop The Dead Donkey, Wild At Heart, Minder, New Tricks, Grafters and Ted And Alice.