Insurance

Insurance broker, 50, acquitted of biting policeman’s hand is convicted after Hong Kong magistrate overturns verdict

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Mark Kirkham outside court. Photo: Sam Tsang

Mark Kirkham given suspended jail sentence after court rules that he was not subject to excessive force

An insurance broker previously acquitted of biting a policeman’s hand was yesterday convicted of assaulting the officer, as a magistrate overturned his previous verdict and ruled that the broker was by no means acting out of self-defence.

Eastern Court Magistrate Jason Wan Siu-ming said Mark Kirkham was neither attacked by the policeman, nor was he suffocated when he bit the officer on December 16 last year.

“[The policeman] did not use excessive force. There was no need to defend himself,” said Wan, who previously acquitted the chief executive of Business Class Group of a police assault charge on the grounds that he was panicking.
READ MORE: ‘No need’ to bite police officer’s hand

He sentenced the 50-year-old to three weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, for the incident that took place outside the Yung Kee Restaurant in Central.

His lawyer, Elizabeth Herbert, said in mitigation that the conviction would likely have an impact on the broker’s career.

“He will have to stand down [as a member of the general committee of the Confederation of Insurance Brokers] as a result of the conviction,” Herbert said, adding that Kirkham had been on leave from duty since the review of the acquittal.

She also said the conviction would likely affect Kirkham’s personal and corporate licences to provide certain financial services, such as Mandatory Provident Fund investments and property transactions.

Magistrate Jason Wan reversed his decision

Kirkham’s firms have promoted several high-commission funds that later imploded leaving clients nursing heavy losses.

One, Centaur Litigation, backed High Court lawsuits and offered a “capital guarantee” yet went into administration last year after more than a third of its assets were “misappropriated”.
READ MORE: Centaur Litigation funds “misappropriated”

LM Managed Performance fund invested in Australian real estate before its collapse in 2013 wiped out investors in circumstances that are still under investigation by Australian regulators.

In 2012, Kirkham’s firms recommended Axiom Legal Financing, another legal support fund.

The fund later collapsed, prompting a British regulatory investigation.

South China Morning Post

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