Ant McPartlin: No disrespect intended with divorce court hearing no-show

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Ant McPartlin: No disrespect intended with divorce court hearing no-show

Television presenter Ant McPartlin has mounted a defence after being told off by a High Court judge for failing to attend a preliminary hearing of a divorce court fight over money with his estranged wife.

Lisa McPartlin attended the hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Monday but McPartlin, who found fame as one half of duo Ant and Dec with Declan Donnelly, was not present.

Mr Justice Mostyn said the presenter should have been in court.

A spokesman for McPartlin said no disrespect had been intended.

“Ant was advised by his media barrister that he didn’t need to attend court today,” said the spokesman.

“There was absolutely no intent to disrespect the court.”

The hearing was staged in private and Mr Justice Mostyn placed limits on what could be reported.

But he said journalists could name the people involved and said they could report that McPartlin had been “told off” for not attending.

“Why is he not here?” Mr Justice Mostyn had asked barrister Jonathan Southgate QC, who is leading McPartlin’s legal team.

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Lisa McPartlin arriving at court today (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“There isn’t one law for the famous and one for the rest of the community.

“The rules say he was supposed to be here – and that can be reported.”

Mr Justice Mostyn added: “He has been told off.”

The judge indicated that he might have excused McPartlin’s non-attendance had he been contacted in advance and given a reason.

He then considered issues relating to the reporting of any future hearings in the pair’s fight over money.

The judge ruled that detail relating to their confidential financial information would not be permitted.

He also said McPartlin’s address could not be revealed in reports of hearings.

Further hearings are expected to take place in the near future.

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The couple announced they were splitting earlier this year (Ian West/PA)

McPartlin, 42, had asked the judge to impose reporting restrictions.

Another judge has already drawn the pair’s marriage to a close.

Judge Alun Jenkins granted a decree nisi at hearing in the Central Family Court in London in October.

McPartlin announced that he was splitting from his wife earlier this year.

He had entered rehab last year after struggling with a two-year addiction to super-strength painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

In April, he was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000 for driving while more than twice the legal drink-drive limit.

He later announced that he was stepping back from television commitments.

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