NewsNews

Saved By The Bell actor Dustin Diamond convicted of two charges stemming from bar fight

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Dustin Diamond.
Dustin Diamond.

The actor who played the character ‘Screech’ in TV show Saved By The Bell, Dustin Diamond, has been convicted of two charges stemming from a fight in a bar.

However, a Wisconsin jury cleared him of the more serious felony charge of recklessly endangering public safety.

The 38-year-old actor pleaded not guilty to the felony charge plus two lesser misdemeanours of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.

Diamond testified that he never intended to stab anyone in the fight last Christmas Day.

He said some people had wanted to shake his hand and pose for photos at the bar, but that others were badgering him and his girlfriend, Amanda Schutz.

He said he was trying to scare bar patrons in Port Washington after his girlfriend was punched in the face.

“I felt like we were being set up for antagonistic purposes,” he said.

Witnesses testified that Schutz pushed one woman at the bar and grabbed another woman’s hand, initiating the incident.

Diamond said he tried to help Schutz and took out his pocketknife to deter the group from hurting her more.

The man who was stabbed, 25-year-old Casey Smet, testified on Thursday that he did not know he had been stabbed until he had left the bar and was talking to police.

After maintaining a serious facade during most of the trial, Diamond grinned yesterday when a defence lawyer asked if he liked being compared to the character Screech.

Diamond said he, like his character, enjoyed nerdy things, and that he liked being identified in public as the goofy television character.

“That means they love you,” Diamond said. “That means you’re doing your job.”

Port Washington is 30kms north of Milwaukee.