Maurice Kirk misses Contempt of Court hearing due to being ‘in hospital’
A FORMER vet has failed to turn up for a Contempt of Court hearing and sent the judge a message that he is in hospital.
Maurice Kirk was found not guilty of stalking Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow earlier this month, but the judge at Exeter Crown Court imposed a restraining order.
He also ordered Kirk to remove a post he uploaded to his website while the jury was out considering its verdict.
Kirk was summoned back to the court after part of the post, which shows him at the MP’s house in a village near Taunton, was left on the website.
Judge Peter Johnson said Kirk may be in contempt of court because he gave assurances that the post would be removed.
The restraining order also prohibits him from making any comment about the MP but the short video clip accuses her of not answering his letters and claims that her staff are blocking access to her.
Judge Johnson adjourned the contempt hearing until Kirk is able to attend. He said three issues will be addressed when it is heard.
The first is the alleged contempt, the second is an application for costs by Kirk, and the third is an application by Avon and Somerset Police to tighten up the wording of the restraining order.
Police Sergeant Andrew Gloyne, who appeared by remote link, said the video which Kirk posted on his website shortly before his acquittal on May 20 is still live.
Judge Johnson said: “I have had a report that there has not been complete removal of the article which I ordered removed on the last day of the trial.
“It was uploaded at about 9am, just before the jury were due to return to continue their deliberations. I am told it has been partially deleted but some of it still remains.
“My intention was to invite him and say what he proposes to do about it. It is my recollection that I told him to remove it and so there is a potential contempt of court.
“I wanted to see if he thought he had complied and whether he wanted to comply.”
The judge also noted that Kirk had been invited to make a claim for costs at the end of the trial but had not done so. He gave him 14 days to submit one.
Kirk rang up the listings office at Exeter Crown Court while the hearing was in progress today (Thursday) and left a message that he was in hospital.
The judge said inquiries will be made to establish which hospital he was at and when it would be possible for him to attend court.
Kirk, 76, of Westgate Street, Taunton, denied stalking that caused serious alarm or distress at his trial earlier this month and was found not guilty.
The prosecution said he had sent a white powder to Ms Pow’s home in May 2019 when he was serving a sentence at Cardiff Prison for unrelated offences.
He was alleged to had been abusive to staff at her office in Taunton and ignored police advice by going to hand-deliver a letter to her home in May 2020.
Ms Pow said she was terrified, sick with fear, and unable to sleep when he posted two photographs of her on social media alongside a picture of him holding a gun.
He told the jury the white powder was toothpaste which he had used to glue items together and which must have dried in transit.
He said his attempts to contact her had been legitimate requests for help from a constituent.
Kirk is a retired vet and stunt pilot who claims to have worked on major movies including the Roger Moore Bond film Moonraker.
He has spent almost 50 years in a series of legal battles with police over allegations that he fitted a real World War I Lewis gun to a vintage plane.
He claims the gun was a dummy and that he has been the victim of a series of miscarriages of justice which destroyed his livelihood and marriage.
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