Former TV presenter Andrew O’Keefe allegedly breached his bail conditions by failing a drug test weeks after completing a lengthy stay at a rehabilitation facility, a court has heard.
- Sir. O’Keefe was granted bail in May and sent to drug and alcohol rehab as part of his conditions
- The former Deal or No Deal host previously pleaded not guilty to a number of charges after police accused him of assaulting a woman
- The judge on Thursday refused the application for detention, allowing Mr O’Keefe’s bail to continue
O’Keefe, 51, was arrested at a Vaucluse home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs this morning.
He appeared at Waverley Local Court this afternoon, where the police prosecutor made a request for custody.
The court heard Mr O’Keefe allegedly tested positive for methylamphetamine and cocaine.
But when arguing against the application for detention, his lawyer Sebastian De Brennan raised the possibility of contamination.
According to the alleged policy facts read out in court, a man seen by police leaving the residence was searched and allegedly found with a quantity of “prohibited drugs”.
Sir. De Brennan told the court not enough was known about the drug test, including whether standard procedure was followed by police.
“Why would someone who has gone through rehabilitation … why would he have someone in his house … (be) involved in drugs?” Judge Jacqueline Milledge asked.
De Brennan said Mr O’Keefe had recently been discharged after spending about six months in a rehabilitation centre.
“He should be in survival mode,” the judge said.
De Brennan told the court his client has since been seeing psychiatrists and attending weekly Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
But he said the difficulty for those in Mr O’Keefe’s situation was that “almost by default” everyone around him or in his social circles now struggled with drugs.
The court heard that since being discharged from rehabilitation at the end of October, Mr O’Keefe has taken steps to look into further investigations and obtain a renewed practicing certificate as a solicitor.
He has also rekindled relationships with supportive family and friends, Mr De Brennan said.
“It will be my submission that the road to rehabilitation is allowed to continue.”
The court heard that Mr O’Keefe’s High Court bail conditions included a requirement that he be screened weekly for drugs, but since he left rehab his regular doctor has been away and his first screen was scheduled for Friday.
The police prosecutor insisted that the drug test that returned the positive result was carried out in “a non-invasive way, to protect his privacy” and all requirements were followed.
But Mr De Brennan maintained there was a chance of error.
“These tests, especially if not done according to very strict oversight and practices, are not foolproof,” he said.
Magistrate Milledge noted that Mr O’Keefe received a very positive report following his discharge from rehabilitation.
“I accept that Mr O’Keefe has undergone rehabilitation, that he is required to do something about his addiction,” she said.
The judge refused the bail application and allowed Mr O’Keefe’s bail to continue on conditions including that he be screened for illegal drugs weekly and continue to attend Narcotics Anonymous.
“You just cannot afford another blow like this,” Judge Milledge told Mr O’Keefe.
“I agree, Your Honor,” Mr O’Keefe replied.
The former long-serving Channel Seven presenter has previously pleaded not guilty to a number of charges after police accused him of attacking a woman at his flat in the city on January 25.
Sir. O’Keefe is also a former ambassador for the domestic violence charity White Ribbon.
Sir. O’Keefe was granted bail in May and sent to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Swan Bay, north of Sydney, as part of his conditions.
The former Deal or No Deal host is next due in court on December 14.