- Ex-Deal or No Deal host admits charge
- Channel Seven previously pleaded not guilty to offence
- READ MORE: Andrew O’Keefe faces court
Embattled television personality Andrew O’Keefe has escaped conviction after pleading guilty to driving with methamphetamine in his system through Sydney’s most exclusive suburb.
The former Deal or No Deal host pleaded guilty on Tuesday at Downing Centre Local Court to driving with the illicit drug in his system and breaching his bail conditions.
Police alleged the 51-year-old was driving his grey Mercedes C200 sedan on January 20 through Point Piper when he was stopped by police.
A roadside breath test allegedly returned a positive result for methamphetamine or ‘ice’ before Mr O’Keefe was taken to Waverley police station for a secondary test.
Former Deal or No Deal host Andrew O’Keefe pleaded guilty to driving with meth in his system and breaching bail on Tuesday at Downing Centre Local Court
Police alleged the 51-year-old was driving his grey Mercedes C200 sedan on January 20 through Point Piper when he was stopped by police and tested positive to a drug test
During sentencing, magistrate Miranda Moody said O’Keefe had since returned negative screenings for illicit drugs and was being treated by a psychiatrist and psychologist.
‘To his credit, he’s clearly had some issues with illicit drug use and I’ve been provided material to his use of drugs or lack thereof,’ Ms Moody told the court.
‘There have been none detected for some time. I’ve also been provided a report by a psychologist and a psychiatrist. He’s engaged in treatment.
‘Given the enormous amount of work Mr O’Keefe is doing in relation to his drug and health issues I’m prepared to not record a conviction.’
Ms Moody instead sentenced Mr O’Keefe to a 12-month community release order. He faced a maximum penalty of $2200 and six months disqualification from driving.
Outside court, Mr O’Keefe told members of the media he was ‘very pleased’ with the ‘sensible outcome’ but said he had pleaded guilty to avoid potential delays in court.
‘Two positives and two negatives (tests) … such is the exigencies of the law, we had to plead guilty anyway otherwise we’d be delayed for another six months potentially,’ he said.
Documents tendered to court reveal Mr O’Keefe remains unemployed after leaving the Connect Global Residential Drug and Alcohol Centre in October 2022.
Mr O’Keefe was sentenced to a 12-month community release order
The documents further reveal insights into Mr O’Keefe’s life post-rehab, including $1000 per month he paid in rent for his home on South Head Rd in Vaucluse in Sydney’s east.
He earns about $26,000 a month in insurance payments, the documents state, and owes an amount of money to the Australian Taxation Office that he ‘legally could not disclose’ to police.
At the time of the incident, Mr O’Keefe had been parked in a Wunulla Rd cul-de-sac but pulled away when police approached. He was the sole occupant in the car at the time.
A second oral fluid sample provided at Waverley police station tested negative but was later deemed positive after an analysis by the NSW Forensic and Analytical Science Service.
Asked about any drug taking, Mr O’Keefe told police: ‘I don’t use them.’ He was later arrested at his Vaucluse home on April 4 following the analysis of the oral fluid.
During sentencing, Ms Moody said Mr O’Keefe’s driving record ‘did not assist him’ but told the court he did not have any similar offences on his record.
Mr O’Keefe previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, indicating outside the court that he thought ‘certain things that might affect the credibility of a saliva test’.
Mr O’Keefe – the nephew of rock pioneer Johnny O’Keefe – began his career as an intellectual property lawyer with law firm Allens Arthur Robinson before a career change into TV presenting with Channel Seven in 2003.
He was a longstanding co-host of Weekend Sunrise and hosted the game show The Chase before his media career was derailed amid a succession of drug and domestic violence charges.