A woman allegedly choked at the hands of an ex-game show host had to bite him to break free, a court has heard.
Ex-TV star Andrew O’Keefe has failed in his bid for bail after a dramatic outburst in court from the domestic violence ambassador over bombshell texts.
O’Keefe, 50, was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with two counts of intentionally choking a person without consent, three counts of common assault and one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
No pleas have been entered to the charges which were laid after police alleged the former host of The Chase grabbed a 38-year-old woman by the throat, punched and kicked her after the pair had a verbal dispute at an apartment on Kent St in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday afternoon.
The woman left the apartment after the alleged assaults and reported O’Keefe to police on Wednesday.
He appeared in Sydney’s Central Local Court, via audiovisual link from the cells at Surry Hills Police Station, to apply for bail on Friday afternoon.
Defence lawyer Sharon Marsden told the court the woman O’Keefe allegedly assaulted came to his home uninvited.
“Clearly he is raising self defence in respect to these allegations,” Ms Marsden said.
“Two of the charges describe quite significant alleged choking or pressure to the throat, the photographic evidence doesn’t support that.”
Ms Marsden said O’Keefe sustained substantial injuries during the incident.
She told the court if granted bail O’Keefe could attend The Sydney Clinic rehabilitation facility.
“There may not be a bed available until early next week,” Ms Marsden said.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Chris Manning told the court text messages between O’Keefe and the woman supported her version of events.
Sergeant Manning said photos taken of the woman after the alleged attack showed “significant marks to the face and legs.”
“There are scratch marks clearly visible in the photo,” he said.
Sergeant Manning said the woman had to bite O’Keefe to escape as he choked her.
“That’s supported by the visible injuries that were noted on the accused,” he told the court.
“On the offences currently before the court full time custody is likely.
“We’re talking about an incident that has gone on for a lengthy period of time.”
O’Keefe shook his head and could be heard repeatedly sighing loudly as Sergeant Manning spoke.
The court heard O’Keefe was on bail for other alleged offences when the latest alleged attack took place.
Sergeant Manning said O’Keefe had domestic violence charges laid against him dismissed on mental health grounds in Waverley Local Court last year.
“We have three offences of violence all in a short period of time,” Sergeant Manning told the court, adding O’Keefe’s behaviour appeared to be “escalating”.
O’Keefe interjected and said “oh God this is ridiculous” as Sergeant Manning pressed for him to be remanded in custody.
Magistrate Robert Williams said police had a “reasonably strong case” against O’Keefe.
Expert reports presented in court stated that O’Keefe suffered from methamphetamine use disorder, historical addiction issues, complex post traumatic stress disorder and depressive disorder, Magistrate Williams said.
“The court also notes the availability of the medical residential rehabilitation, though at this stage there is some uncertainty about whether he does have a place to stay,” Magistrate Williams said.
Another report found O’Keefe was unlikely to be found to be “a mentally ill person as defined by the Mental Health Act”, Magistrate Williams said.
O’Keefe interjected at various points, saying “there was no choke” and “unbelievable”, removing his glasses and folding his legs as Magistrate Williams said the bail application was refused.
The case is due to return to court on February 4.
After O’Keefe was charged, confronting footage emerged of him being transported in a paddy wagon from Day St Police Station in Sydney to police cells.
“F**k you, I’m a victim of crime,” O’Keefe was heard screaming.
“I’m a victim of crime you f**kwits.”
Channel 7 dumped O’Keefe as host of The Chase last year and severed ties with the troubled star who had a 17-year association with the network.
At the height of his fame O’Keefe fronted numerous hit shows and TV specials, including Weekend Sunrise for more than a decade, Deal or No Deal, The Rich List and the 2005 Logie Awards.
O’Keefe was also the founding chair and male face of anti-domestic violence organisation White Ribbon.
The organisation, which went into liquidation in 2019, has said O’Keefe had no role with it following a relaunch in 2020.
In recognition of O’Keefe’s “significant service to the broadcast media as a television presenter, and to social welfare and charitable organisations”, the nephew of rock star Johnny O’Keefe and son of former Supreme Court judge Barry O’Keefe was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2017.