Ex-Home and Away star bailed, facing sentence delay

Tara Cosoleto |

Former Home and Away star Orpheus Pledger (centre) has been bailed to await sentencing.
Former Home and Away star Orpheus Pledger (centre) has been bailed to await sentencing.

A former Home and Away star who stomped on a woman’s head and then evaded police for days has been released on bail ahead of his sentencing hearing.

Orpheus Pledger, 31, was brought from custody to Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning to be sentenced.

But Magistrate Justin Foster adjourned the hearing to August, noting Corrections Victoria needed time to complete a more in-depth report on Pledger’s mental health and drug issues.

Mr Foster said the offending was serious so he needed to understand whether Pledger was in a drug-induced psychosis or experiencing other mental health issues at the time of the assaults. 

Pledger instead applied for bail on Wednesday afternoon, with his lawyer Jasper MacCuspie arguing his client should not remain in custody until his sentence.

He pointed to a fresh Forensicare letter, which confirmed Pledger’s mental health had improved so he no longer needed to be in a special unit in prison.

Pledger was also accepted into a court support program and he could live with his father in Victoria’s far northwest while on bail, Mr MacCuspie said.

Mr Foster said he was confused at the fresh material, noting the previous defence submission that Pledger’s mental health had deteriorated in custody.

Orpheus Pledger departs from the Melbourne Magistrates Court
The magistrate was told that Orpheus Pledger’s mental health had improved. (Diego Fedele/AAP PHOTOS)

“I’m now hearing it’s all manageable – that changes the goal post,” the magistrate said.

He granted bail on the conditions Pledger lived with his father and complied with a nightly curfew and weekly police reporting conditions.  

Pledger, who appeared on Home and Away between 2016 and 2019, only spoke to say he understood his conditions.

He has spent 96 days in custody and on Monday pleaded guilty to repeatedly assaulting the woman, who can’t be identified for legal reasons.

Shortly after midnight on March 1, Pledger kicked and punched the victim in the face after she raised concerns about his drug use and declining mental health.

He then attacked the same woman about 1.35am on March 25, dragging her by the hair and stomping on her face.

Orpheus Pledger (file image)
Orpheus Pledger was warned his bail compliance would be taken into account when sentenced. (HANDOUT/VICTORIA POLICE)

The victim had called triple zero when he arrived at the property and police reached the house at 1.50am to find her lying on the floor in pain.

She was taken to hospital with multiple bruises and cuts to her face and neck, with the marks matching the sole of Pledger’s shoe.

The 31-year-old was arrested but bailed on April 22 on the condition he undergo a court-ordered mental health assessment.

He absconded from the hospital the next morning and a warrant was issued for his arrest, but he evaded police for three days before he was remanded in custody again.

The magistrate on Wednesday said he was still considering whether Pledger should be jailed for longer, noting it was dependent on the corrections report.

Mr Foster also warned Pledger he would take into account his compliance with the bail conditions when sentencing him.

Pledger is due back in court on August 16.