O’Keefe ‘had to plead guilty’ after unusual drug tests

Jack Gramenz |

Former TV host Andrew O’Keefe has pleaded guilty to a charge of drug-driving.
Former TV host Andrew O’Keefe has pleaded guilty to a charge of drug-driving.

Former Seven Network personality Andrew O’Keefe has avoided another day in court, pleading guilty the day he was scheduled for a hearing on a drug-driving charge.

Leaving Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, the 52-year-old told media he pleaded guilty to avoid further delay in resolving the charge.

O’Keefe was stopped in the salubrious Sydney suburb of Point Piper in January after police saw him pull away from the kerb in a grey Mercedes-Benz as they approached a cul-de-sac.

He tested negative on a breath test but returned a positive result for methamphetamine on a drug-wipe test.

Police took him for a secondary saliva test and suspended his licence.

The saliva returned a negative result when tested at the police station but the remainder was sent for forensic tests.

O’Keefe was charged in April with driving a vehicle with an illicit drug in his blood after the saliva sample returned a positive result.

The 52-year-old former Deal or No Deal host’s lawyer Sharon Ramsden entered a guilty plea on his behalf in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.

O’Keefe has been on a “sincere endeavour” to abstain from drugs since being granted bail in August after breaching the conditions of his earlier release on other charges.

“That treatment is ongoing by both his treating psychologist and psychiatrist,” Ms Ramsden told the court on Tuesday as O’Keefe watched on.

The Downing Centre court in Sydney.
Andrew O’Keefe appeared at the Downing Centre court on a drug-driving charge. (Angela Brkic/AAP PHOTOS)

Magistrate Miranda Moody said O’Keefe’s driving was not what attracted police attention, but his history behind the wheel did not assist him.

“He has clearly had some issues with illicit drug use,” she said.

With no “live offending” and evidence that he had successfully been abstaining from drugs, O’Keefe was granted a conditional release order – essentially a good behaviour bond – for 12 months.

Leaving court, O’Keefe said it was a “very sensible” decision but noted the differing test results were “a very unusual outcome”.

“Such are the exigencies of the law that I had to plead guilty anyway because otherwise it might be delayed for another six months potentially,” he said.

O’Keefe faced a separate hearing in November on domestic violence and resisting arrest charges, however a decision has yet to be delivered by the court.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

AAP