Troubled former game show host Andrew O’Keefe has issued a creeping apology to a magistrate after a dramatic outburst.
Embattled former game show host Andrew O’Keefe has admitted he disrespected a magistrate in a dramatic court outburst.
The 50-year-old ex-host of The Chase Australia accused Magistrate Daniel Reiss of having ‘no interest in justice’ during a bail hearing at Sydney Central Local Court last week.
“I wish to apologize unreservedly,” Mr O’Keefe said on Thursday.
“My behavior last time was quite disrespectful to the court.
“I come from a family that has experience in the legal field; my father was a judge, I know how difficult the job is.
After previously warning Mr O’Keefe that his behavior could constitute contempt of court, Mr Reiss accepted the apology and said no further action would be taken.
Mr O’Keefe has been remanded in custody since January after police accused him of grabbing a former sex worker by the throat, punching her and pushing her to the ground.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges, including intentionally choking a person without their consent, three counts of common assault and one count of assault causing actual bodily harm.
Within weeks of the arrest, police brought a new charge after Mr O’Keefe was found with 1.5g of marijuana. He pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited drug and has not yet been convicted.
Mr O’Keefe has previously claimed he acted in self-defence and was himself the victim of an assault. The woman who police believe was the victim has not been charged with any offence.
After securing a bed in a rehabilitation center in Port Stephens, Mr O’Keefe made his final bail offer on May 4.
That day, Mr O’Keefe interrupted him and shook his head in frustration as Mr Reiss spoke in court about the 50-year-old’s mental health and drug issues.
Despite multiple pleas from his lawyer Sharon Ramsden, O’Keefe continued to speak out against Mr. Reiss and refused to remain silent.
Mr Reiss told the court that Mr O’Keefe had “significant attitude problems”.
“It’s not an attitude problem, it’s a technical problem,” O’Keefe replied.
Mr O’Keefe spoke to the police prosecutor to deny the allegations as Mr Reiss warned him he would ‘back down on speaking up’.
“That’s just not true, Your Honor,” Mr. O’Keefe said, raising his voice.
“I’m only revealing the truth.”
Mr Reiss said the significant difference between previous bail applications was that there was now the option for Mr O’Keefe to go to a long-term rehabilitation centre.
He told the court it was ‘troubling’ that Mr O’Keefe’s alleged offense continued while he was already out on bail.
Mad with anger, Mr. O’Keefe declared “Alleged behavior, Your Honor, nothing is confirmed”.
“Are you trying to sabotage your own app,” Reiss replied.
“I have dealt with many defendants, some are psychotic and not as difficult to deal with as you are. Someone with legal qualifications and 10 warnings should know how to deal with it.
“You are a lawyer, there are two sides to every story, you should know that.”
Mr Reiss said Mr O’Keefe could not “be trusted to comply with instructions”.
“I would have been inclined to grant bail but for Mr. O’Keefe’s continued behavior in court,” Mr. Reiss said.
“Someone who is qualified as a lawyer and who has appeared in court several times, there have been several warnings.”
Mr Reiss refused bail, saying he was unwilling to accept the ‘unacceptable risk’ of letting Mr O’Keefe out of police custody.
Mr. O’Keefe said ‘the transcript will say I wasn’t arguing, I was trying to help Your Honour’.
“You have no interest in justice,” Mr O’Keefe continued before storming out of the video link studio of the Dawn de Loas Correctional Center courthouse.
After a successful 17-year partnership, Channel 7 dumped Mr O’Keefe last year following a series of public scandals and personal struggles.
Prior to launching The Chase, Mr O’Keefe hosted Weekend Sunrise, Deal or No Deal, The Rich List and other prime time specials including the Logie Awards.
He received an Order of Australia for his work in television and the charity space, including as a former ambassador for the anti-domestic violence organization White Ribbon.
After his last court appearance, Mr O’Keefe made no further bail applications and his case returns to court in September for a hearing.