John Barilaro’s assault charge over a scuffle with a TV cameraman is thrown out for mental health reasons
- Ex-NSW deputy premier scuffled with a cameraman last year
- Charge was thrown out for mental health reasons on Friday
A magistrate has dismissed an assault charge against former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro on mental health grounds.
Barilaro pleaded not guilty to allegedly assaulting a camera operator and damaging their property outside a Manly restaurant in July 2022.
He was leaving a dinner with friends when he saw cameras waiting outside, telling media he did not wish to be interviewed, the court was told.
John Barilaro outside Sydney’s Downing Centre court on Friday after his charge was thrown out
Footage emerged last year showing John Barilaro in a heated moment with a Channel Seven cameraman
The matter was due to be heard in September, however Barilaro’s lawyer Danny Eid applied to Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Friday to have his charges dealt with on mental health grounds.
Magistrate Susan Horan granted the application after ‘compelling’ evidence was presented to the court, including reports from Barilaro’s treating clinicians.
Barilaro has been ordered to continue routinely seeing his clinicians for the next three months and reasonable intervals at their direction after that, under the order which lasts for one year.
Ms Horan said there was no evidence before the court showing Barilaro posed an ongoing threat to his alleged victim or the general public.
Clinical reports described Barilaro as having recurrent depression, anxiety and complex PTSD, and his behaviour may have been an ‘aberration’ brought on by ongoing media attention.
‘Having viewed the footage … the objective seriousness is relatively minor,’ Ms Horan said.
The physical contact was brief and the use of force also minor, Ms Horan said, as was the damage to the camera.
Mr Eid submitted Barilaro had a sustained mental health impairment since 2019, and Ms Horan accepted he had suffered significant stressors.
They include his political responsibilities, the death of his father, defamation action he had brought against multiple parties and the scrutiny he was under over his appointment to an overseas trade role, which he resigned from within two weeks of being announced.
Outside court, Mr Eid told reporters to have some boundaries.
Mr Barilaro’s lawyer said he ‘has a good life ahead of him’
‘I suggest certain sections of the media start treating people with certain boundaries because things can go sour and ugly very quickly,’ he said.
‘It’s irrelevant who I’m directing this at but I think you know who I’m talking about and one has to start worrying about the actual story, not the narrative to push for a sensationalist grab.’
‘He’s got a good life ahead of him … I’m sure that with good health, he’ll continue to be a productive member of the community,’ Mr Eid said.
Barilaro stood quietly behind his sunglasses and lawyer before television cameras followed him away from the court.
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