Andrew O’Keefe domestic assault hearing: TV star gives evidence

Embattled television presenter Andrew O’Keefe became emotional as he told a court that a woman who claims he kicked, spat on and scratched her, inflicted the injuries on herself during an argument.

The 52-year-old is facing the second part of his hearing in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court over charges of common assault, contravening an AVO, resisting a police officer, possess prohibited drug and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He told the court an argument broke out and the alleged victim walked up to him in a “restrained fury” and claimed he called her child a c**t.

He was taken aback and told the woman he would never call any child that word, but she told O’Keefe to leave, “not come back” and threatened to call the police.

O’Keefe agreed to leave before saying: “You think I’m a liar, I think you’re a mad-dog”.

As he was trying to collect his belongings, O’Keefe told the court the woman was following him around, there were moments he moved her out of the way and “pushed past her” with his body.

After leaving the bathroom with his medication, he told the court the woman “slapped him across the chest with the back of her hand”.

“I said to her … ‘if you’re going to call the police great because you’ve just assaulted me’,” O’Keefe told the court.

The charges related to an incident in September 2021 at an eastern suburbs apartment, where police allege O’Keefe kicked, spat on and scratched a woman.

O’Keefe took to the witness stand on Thursday where he told the court he was staying at the woman’s house due to being close contact of a Covid-infected person at the time.

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He told the court at one point the woman grabbed him in a “monkey-style grip” with her arms and he continued to walk, carrying her entire body weight.

O’Keefe said something tripped them up and both he and the woman began to fall in the corridor, with his weight on top of her.

The former television presenter got up and found the rest of his belongings before ensuring the woman was all right, saying goodbye and heading to the door.

He became emotional as he told the court he said goodbye to the children, while he said the woman said to him: “I don’t know why I ever let you back into my life”.

The 52-year old said the woman was “agitated” and noticed her hand was around her wrist with her nails digging into her skin.

At the first part of the hearing earlier this year, neighbour Nicole Taylor told the court on the night of the alleged incident she could hear O’Keefe singing in the apartment below hers before it turned into a “scuffle”.

Ms Taylor went to check on her neighbour and told the court she could tell O’Keefe was “aggressive and angry” while the alleged victim was attempting to “calm him down”.

“She (the woman) had scratches up her arms and marks on her chest,” Ms Taylor said.

O’Keefe became emotional during questioning by his lawyer, Richard Pontello SC, denying punching, kicking, assaulting the woman in any way.

When asked if he held her to the floor, he said “no”.

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The court was told O’Keefe was sick at the time of the incident, eventually crawling to the front steps of the building where police found him about half an hour later, telling him they were there to see the woman.

O’Keefe told the court he asked the officers whether he could make a statement himself, but they “sort of laughed” at him and said “why would you do that”.

At the earlier part of the hearing this year, footage was played to the court which showed O’Keefe sprawled out on the steps complaining of chest pain.

In the video, O’Keefe is heard groaning and complaining of having something “chesty”.

Footage showed police finding the complainant, who is seen crying and holding her wrist which is covered in scratches.

On Wednesday, footage was shown to the court of O’Keefe’s arrest two days after the alleged incident.

O’Keefe spent almost five months in custody on remand after he was charged with the offences before he was released on bail.

The former TV star has faced a different kind of spotlight since the assault allegations came to light, following a long career with Channel 7.

In 2017, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his charity work and accomplishments in television.

The hearing continues before Magistrate Alison Viney.