Ex-TV star O’Keefe avoids jail for ‘degrading’ DV crime

Esther Linder |

A magistrate has described Andrew O’Keefe’s actions as “frightening and degrading”.
A magistrate has described Andrew O’Keefe’s actions as “frightening and degrading”.

Troubled former TV host Andrew O’Keefe has avoided jail despite being found guilty of “violent and degrading” domestic attacks.

The broadcaster was hit with three sets of charges over multiple incidents in 2021, including assault causing actual bodily harm, breaching a domestic violence order and possession of the synthetic stimulant drug mephedrone. 

Magistrate Alison Viney on Wednesday found O’Keefe’s actions in kicking, spitting, scratching and otherwise assaulting a woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, deserved condemnation.

“Your actions were violent and degrading,” she told Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court while describing O’Keefe’s September 2021 assault on the woman during an argument.

“You placed (the victim) in a position of fear, not only for herself but for her children in her own home.”

O’Keefe was ordered to serve 18 months on a community corrections order, which involves supervision and reporting requirements.

He was fined $800 for drug offences. 

Ms Viney said O’Keefe’s indifference to the domestic violence order in repeatedly contacting the victim was a concern for the court.

His behaviour showed “absolute disregard for what is supposed to be an effective tool for the protection of victims of domestic violence in our community”, she said.

The magistrate described his behaviour over multiple incidents in September 2021 as “frightening and degrading” for the victim.

Andrew O'Keefe speaks to the media outside court
O’Keefe became agitated and muttered throughout parts of the judgment, shaking his head at times. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

The court heard O’Keefe called the woman a “lying dog” and a “c***” and assaulted her several times, including striking her with an open hand. 

A neighbour’s evidence formed a crucial part in corroborating the victim’s statements during the hearing.

They heard the pair fighting on an evening in September 2021 and later saw the victim distressed with scratches to her upper body.

Numerous photographs of the victim’s injuries, including bruising and scratches to her arms and chest, were tendered during hearings in November.

O’Keefe, dressed in a teal-green suit, became agitated and muttered throughout parts of the judgment, shaking his head at times as the magistrate read out her findings.

He denied the woman’s accusations, previously telling the court: “None of this happened”.

O’Keefe earlier pleaded guilty to contravening the domestic violence order and possessing cannabis but denied further charges of assault and drug possession.

Andrew O'Keefe (centre) departs the Downing Centre Local Court
Speaking to reporters outside court, O’Keefe said he intended to appeal the convictions. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

He was found in possession of the synthetic stimulant mephedone, known as “meow-meow”, after a pre-Christmas party at his Sydney city-centre residence.

O’Keefe’s rehabilitation was noted as a matter of ongoing concern given his guilty plea for drug-driving offences late in 2023.

He had previous charges dismissed on mental health grounds following an incident in January 2021, during which he slapped the woman and spat in her face.

“I accept your mental health condition may have contributed to your actions,” Ms Viney said as she detailed his bipolar diagnosis and psychiatric treatment.

But she added a pattern of behaviour was evident in the multiple domestic violence-related incidents. 

An earlier charge of resisting police arrest was dismissed by the court. 

Speaking to reporters outside court, O’Keefe said he intended to appeal the convictions.

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