North Devon martial arts mogul Matt Fiddes pleads not guilty to court summons charge
A celebrity bodyguard has pleaded not guilty to issuing a false court summons during a divorce dispute.
Martial arts instructor Matthew Fiddes, who is a former friend and minder of the late Michael Jackson, is alleged to have sent the summons to another man in North Devon.
He denied one offence of pretending to act under the authority of a court by issuing the document to Nigel Griffith.
Fiddes, aged 33, of Hunters Moon, Shirwell Road, Barnstaple, was granted bail by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, and the case was adjourned for trial in August.
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The full charge alleges:”Between January 26 and February 9, 2012, he falsely pretended to act under the authority of the court in that he caused to be delivered to Nigel Griffith papers which falsely purported to be a summons of the county court, knowing it to be false.”
Mr Richard Crabb, defending, said the alleged offence arose at a time when he was acting in person in divorce proceedings.
Fiddes runs a chain of martial arts schools around Britain and has acted as bodyguard or personal trainer to a string of celebrities including Peter Andre.
The case, which carries a punishment of a fine or prison sentence, was sent to Exeter Crown Court by magistrates at Barnstaple last year.