A court has again rejected calls for a bankruptcy hearing over former Atomic Kitten, Kerry Katona, to be heard behind closed doors.
Katona warded off a bid by the taxman at the hearing to have her declared bankrupt over a reported £157,000 debt.
But before the hearing got underway, her barrister, Luke Harris, tried to get reporters thrown out of the hearing at London’s High Court, claiming their interest was ‘purely gossip related”.
He told the court: ‘There is some indication that it would be detrimental to her health for further adverse publicity to occur. She is finding the media attention rather difficult and in her most recent witness statement she has described yet more personal problems.”
However, the Deputy Registrar ruled there was no medical evidence, and told Harris he saw no reason to exclude the press.
Henderson Collymore, for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, told the Registrar that HMRC wanted the debt to be paid in full. It has been reported in the media that she owes £157,000 but HMRC refused to confirm or deny this.
Collymore said his client was seeking a bankruptcy order today, and that Katona had been given a supposedly ‘final’chance the last time the matter came to court.
However, Harris said Katona was due to be paid £472,000 in August, £291,000 of which is for work already been completed. He added that £257,000 was due before the end of July.
As a result, he said there should be a distinction between the previous hearing, when his client was unable to earn money to pay the debt, and the present hearing, when she had already earned it.