Co-authored by Isabel Strahan
KEY TAKE OUTS
- Andrew O’Keefe has been refused bail after being charged with further domestic violence charges – two counts of intentional choking without consent, three counts of common assault and, one count of assault occasioning in actual bodily harm.
- O’Keefe had two previous charges of assault dismissed last year due to his mental health and was on bail for a third charge at the time of the most recent assault.
- The court hearing will resume on Friday. (4th Feb 2022)
Former TV presenter and former chairperson of the White Ribbon Foundation, Andrew O’Keefe, has recently been in hot water with Police regarding his arrest in January of 2022.
O’Keefe was denied bail after being charged with two counts of intentional choking without consent, three counts of common assault and one count of assault occasioning in actual bodily harm.
Police have alleged that O’Keefe choked, punched, and kicked the victim, further claiming that the victim was forced to bite O’Keefe in order to free herself.
O’Keefe is not a stranger to court proceedings as previously, two assault charges were dismissed against him in 2021 on grounds of mental health pertaining to his hypomanic bipolar state at the time of the assaults. He was on bail regarding a third charge at the time of the most recent incident.
Magistrate Robert Williams took O’Keefe’s mental health into consideration in the recent bail request however, noted that the “likelihood of custodial sentence and risk of further offending” led to the refusal of bail.
Andrew O’Keefe will face Court again on Friday 4 February.
What must be proven?
The offence of intentional choking is found under Section 37 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). This section stipulates that for someone to be found guilty of this offence, the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person intentionally choked, suffocated or strangled the other person without consent. If found guilty, the maximum penalty is 5-years imprisonment. If the victim is rendered unconscious, insensible, or incapable of resistance, the maximum penalty is increased to 10 years imprisonment. If the offender does the act with the intention of committing or assisting in another person committing an indictable offence, the maximum penalty is again increased to 25 years imprisonment.
An assault is defined as any act that causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence. So, whilst colloquially assault often involves physical contact, under law it does not necessarily require it.
The Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused either applied physical force or threatened immediate violence, intentionally or recklessly without consent or lawful excuse.
If found guilty of committing common assault, the maximum penalty is two-year imprisonment or 50 penalty units, which translates to a $5,500 fine.
Assault Occasioning in Actual Bodily Harm
The authority pertaining to the offence of assault occasioning in actual bodily harm is found within Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The law states that whosoever assaults a person, and thereby occasions actual bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.
The legal term ‘actual bodily harm’ was defined within the case of R v Donovan  2KB 498 at 509 which stated that the assault must cause an injury that is “not permanent but more than merely transient or trifling”. Therefore, the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that an injury that was more than merely transient or trifling was sustained by the actual assault committed by the offender.
Resources For Help
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, the following contacts are available for support.
- 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or at 1800respect.org.au
- Lifeline (13 11 14) or at lifeline.org.au
- Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or at kidshelpline.com.au
ABOUT LARA MENON:
Earlier in 2019, Lara was selected by the NSW Law Society to undertake an internship with the NSW Coroner’s Court, working as a Judge’s Associate for the Deputy State Coroner.
For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:
ABOUT ISABEL STRAHAN:
Isabel joined the Coutts team in January 2022, as a Paralegal working within our Family & Criminal teams. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in International Relations and Minoring in Cultural Studies at the University of Wollongong. It is her dedication and hardworking nature that will see her go far within Coutts.