Embattled former television presenter Andrew O’Keefe broke down in court as a magistrate gave him a stern warning after he entered a sudden plea of guilty to breaching an apprehended violence order.
The 51-year-old former Deal or No Deal presenter was given a conditional release order and picked up from Silverwater Remand Centre in Sydney’s western suburbs shortly after 1pm on Friday.
Leaving prison six days after he was arrested from a woman’s home at Point Piper, in the city’s eastern suburbs, O’Keefe jumped into a tinted Mercedes, which quickly drove away from a waiting media pack.
Earlier in the day O’Keefe cried while he appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court as he promised a magistrate he had a “sincere endeavour” to abstain from drugs.
Police were called to a Point Piper unit in Sydney’s eastern suburbs about 11.30pm on August 19 following reports O’Keefe was at the home in breach of a court order.
The 51-year-old was taken to Waverley Police Station and charged with contravening a restriction of prohibition of an apprehended violence order.
He was refused bail in Parramatta Bail Court the following day, with the matter set down for August 30.
But O’Keefe’s solicitor Sharon Ramsden fronted court on Friday for an unexpected mention where she told Magistrate Greg Grogin her client would be entering a plea of guilty.
O’Keefe appeared in court via AVL wearing his prison greens, with a short beard following six days in custody on remand.
His brother sat in the front of the public gallery as Ms Ramsden told the court an order had been in place between O’Keefe and the woman who lived at the Point Piper unit since June 2021.
She told the court O’Keefe told police why he was at the property, with court documents revealing he said he was there to collect his belongings.
“There was no contact between the parties, and she returned to the property at 11.45pm having been on a walk,” Ms Ramsden said.
Ms Ramsden asked the Magistrate to consider sentencing O’Keefe to a conditional release order without a conviction.
Police prosecutor Michael Cleaver did not oppose the sentence.
Magistrate Grogin addressed O’Keefe directly, asking if the former television presenter could abstain from drugs which aren’t prescribed by his doctors.
“One thing I don’t do, I don’t try to set people up to fail … can you fulfil that obligation?” the magistrate asked.
O’Keefe responded: “Your Honour, I can guarantee that will be my sincere endeavour.”
The court was told there was no allegations of threat, harm or violence, or any interaction between O’Keefe and the woman at the property.
“Police questioned as to why he was there … he said he was aware he shouldn’t be there, but he was collecting his belongings,” Mr Grogin told the court.
“The woman and her family were not present at the address, no one else was present … she arrived after being out on a walk.”
Mr Grogin said the breach was a the “lowest end” of the range of objective seriousness and the only aggravating factor is that he was on bail for assault charges in relation to the same woman.
The assault matter is part-heard before the court and will return in November.
Mr Grogin sentenced O’Keefe to a conditional release order with no conviction, to which O’Keefe thanked the magistrate through tears.
“Mr O’Keefe, on a personal basis you have been through some hard times,” the magistrate said.
“You’re going to have good days and bad days and you’re going to go forward and go back, you must comply with court orders … the leniency will not be extended forever.”
O’Keefe’s His lawyer and brother did not comment outside court.