TV star ‘not the aggressor’ in alleged assault on Dr Orly Lavee, lawyer claims

Dumped Channel 7 star Andrew O’Keefe was “not the aggressor” and his partner will have a “lot to answer for” after an incident that left him charged with domestic violence in Sydney’s east, his lawyer has claimed.

Mr O’Keefe was arrested in Randwick at 3.30am on Sunday, hours police allege he assaulted rumoured girlfriend Dr Orly Lavee in her nearby apartment.

The father of three, who lives in Paddington, was charged with one count of common assault and released on bail.

The now former host of game show The Chase Australia did not appear before the court on Thursday when his matter was mentioned for the first time.

Outside court lawyer Claudette Chua told a media pack she had sought a short adjournment “in circumstances where Mr O’Keefe has been unable to give full instructions”.

Ms Chua said that Dr Lavee’s allegations would be contested in court.

“I have had an opportunity to review the facts and I will say this; Mr O’Keefe was certainly not the aggressor in the situation.

“And Dr Lavee will have a lot to answer for.”

A medical certificate was filed in court excusing Mr O’Keefe from appearing on Thursday.

The matter will return to court on February 18.

Police will allege in court Mr O’Keefe – a former lawyer and son of ex-Supreme Court justice Barry O’Keefe – assaulted Dr Lavee about 1am on Sunday morning.

Mr O’Keefe, the former chair of domestic violence charity White Ribbon, has vowed to fight the charge, according to a source who spoke to The Daily Telegraph.

In 2017, Mr O’Keefe was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his charity and television work.

He was arrested on a street near Dr Lavee’s home about 3.30am on January 31 before being taken to Maroubra police station and charged with common assault.

Police granted the performer bail on the condition he not contact or approach Dr Lavee unless through a lawyer.

An interim apprehended violence order has also been granted on behalf of Dr Lavee, 41.

Under the terms of the court order the performer is not to contact, threaten, ­assault or intimidate his partner or go to her house or place of work.

A tearful Dr Lavee was seen leaving her home on Monday, where she said she had endured a “horrible few days”.

Channel 7 revealed on Monday that Mr O’Keefe, a long-time personality at the network and former host of Weekend Sunrise, was no longer employed there.

In a statement the network said his employment had ended before the charge was laid on Sunday.

“Seven has had a 17-year relationship with Andrew across a number of programs, although he is no longer with the network,” it said.

“As this is a police matter before the courts, we cannot comment further. The program hosted by Andrew, The Chase Australia, is not currently in production.”

White Ribbon, which was relaunched in 2020 after the original iteration went into liquidation the year before, said it was “saddened” at the news of Mr O’Keefe’s charge.

“Andrew O’Keefe has no role in this new chapter of White Ribbon Australia that has seen many changes to our approach and activities – including ending the ambassador program,” it said in a statement.

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