Former television presenter Andrew O’Keefe allegedly breached bail conditions by failing a drug test weeks after completing a lengthy stint in a rehabilitation facility, a court has heard.
- Mr. O’Keefe was granted bail in May and sent to a drug and alcohol rehab, as part of his conditions
- The ex-Deal or No Deal host has previously pleaded not guilty to a series of charges after police accused him of attacking a woman
- The magistrate today ruled against the detention application, allowing Mr. O’Keefe’s bail to continue
Mr O’Keefe, 51, was arrested at a Vaucluse home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs this morning.
He appeared in Waverley Local Court this afternoon, where the police prosecutor made a detention application.
The court heard Mr. O’Keefe’s test allegedly returned a positive result for methylamphetamine and cocaine.
However, arguing against the detention application, his barrister Sebastian De Brennan raised the possibility of contamination.
According to the alleged police facts read out in court, prior to the test, a male seen by the police leaving the residence was searched and allegedly found with an amount of “prohibited drugs”.
Mr De Brennan told the court that not enough was known about the drug test, including whether the standard operating procedure was followed by the police.
“Why would somebody who’s gone through rehabilitation … why would he have anybody in his house … (be) involved in drugs?” Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge asked.
Mr De Brennan said Mr O’Keefe had recently been discharged after spending around six months in a residential rehabilitation facility.
“He should be in survival mode,” the magistrate said.
Mr De Brennan told the court his client has since been seeing psychiatrists and attended weekly meetings with Narcotics Anonymous.
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 has grappled with drugs.
The court heard that since being discharged from rehabilitation in late October, Mr. O’Keefe has taken steps to look at further study and obtain a renewed practicing certificate as a lawyer.
He has also rekindled relationships with supportive family and friends, Mr De Brennan said.
“It would be my submission that the road to rehabilitation be allowed to continue.”
The court heard Mr. O’Keefe’s Supreme Court bail conditions included a requirement that he be screened weekly for drugs, however, since leaving rehabilitation his regular doctor has been away and his first screening was scheduled for Friday.
The police prosecutor insisted that the drug test that returned the positive result was performed 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, particularly if they’re not done in accordance with very stringent oversight and practices, are not fault proof,” he said.
Magistrate Milledge noted Mr. O’Keefe received a very positive report upon his discharge from rehabilitation.
“I accept Mr. O’Keefe has undergone rehabilitation, that he is committed to doing something about his addiction,” she said.
The magistrate ruled against the detention application, allowing Mr. O’Keefe’s bail to continue on conditions including that he be screened for illicit drugs weekly and continue attending Narcotics Anonymous.
“You just can’t afford another knock like this,” Magistrate Milledge told Mr O’Keefe.
“I agree, your honor,” Mr. O’Keefe replied.
The former long-time Channel Seven game show host has previously pleaded not guilty to a series of charges after police accused him of attacking a woman at his city apartment on January 25.
Mr. O’Keefe is also a former ambassador for domestic violence charity White Ribbon.
Mr 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 ex-Deal or No Deal host is due to next appear before the court on December 14.