Kerry Katona fined £500 for failing to send child to school
The former Atomic Kitten star did not turn up to court and a solicitor entered a guilty plea on her behalf.
Kerry Katona has been fined £500 for failing to send one of her children to school.
The former Atomic Kitten singer was due to stand trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and had been expected to represent herself.
But she did not turn up to court and a solicitor entered a guilty plea on her behalf in her absence.
It is the second time the 38-year-old has been convicted of such an offence.
The court heard that Katona, of Crowborough, East Sussex, failed to send one of her five children to school between April and November last year.
Prosecutor Gareth Jones, representing East Sussex County Council, told the court that, at the lowest point, the child’s attendance was 48%.
There's a failure to engage here. She's not attending meetings. Letters are not being responded to Prosecutor Gareth Jones
He said of Katona: “There’s a failure to engage here. She’s not attending meetings. Letters are not being responded to.
“This is a problem that has gone on for some time.”
Ed Fish, defending, said some of the unauthorised absences were because Katona could not get childcare while she was working.
On other occasions she had not told the school the child – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was ill.
He said: “She understands it fell below what was expected of her.
“On occasions (the child) missed school due to Kerry Katona’s work commitments. She’s not had childcare and has to take the children to work.
“She understands she should maintain better contact with the school.
“The attendance has not been the worst (the court has seen).”
Katona was previously warned that she could be sent to jail when she failed to attend an earlier court hearing.
She had written to the court asking for an adjournment because she was taking part in a “paid event” in Scotland.
The court heard that Katona’s financial situation was “not great” and she had been subject to bankruptcy but she was “anxious” to provide for her children.
Katona was given 14 days to pay the fine as well as £325 in costs and a £100 surcharge.
Magistrates had initially handed her a fine of £1,000 but were forced to halve this after protestations from lawyers that this was the maximum penalty for the offence and they had not taken her guilty plea into account.