Australia

DV claims ‘retribution’ for break up: court

An entrepreneur from Sydney’s east has been cleared of allegations he assaulted, spat at and verbally abused his ex-partner, Sydney Business Chamber executive director Katherine O’Regan.Carlin Rookes had been accused of serious domestic violence, including kicking, throttling and threatening to “rape” Ms O’Regan following a heated argument in her Potts Point apartment on November 27…

An entrepreneur from Sydney’s east has been cleared of allegations he assaulted, spat at and verbally abused his ex-partner, Sydney Business Chamber executive director Katherine O’Regan.

Carlin Rookes had been accused of serious domestic violence, including kicking, throttling and threatening to “rape” Ms O’Regan following a heated argument in her Potts Point apartment on November 27 last year.

Mr Rookes, 32, denied the claims and pleaded not guilty to charges of common assault and stalk/intimidate, which were dismissed in court on Friday by Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson.

During a hearing his barrister Louis Katsinas said Ms O’Regan “made up” the allegations after the Rushcutters Bay man ended the relationship with the former Woollahra deputy mayor.

Magistrate Atkinson said a lack of independent evidence, including any signs of injury, was crucial in a case that was essentially word against word.

She said the only neutral evidence, CCTV footage that captured the duo walking together through the apartment building after the incident, showed no signs of Mr Rooke’s alleged “agitation”.

“When I weigh up all of the evidence … it’s not a situation where I am confident that there has been proof (of the allegations) let alone proof to the requisite standard,” she said.

“I find the prosecution has failed to prove either charge beyond reasonable doubt.”

Mr Katsinas had told the court Ms O’Regan’s story had been “shot to pieces” by her sending her ex-partner several texts and emails after the incident, including a thumbs up via Facebook message on Valentine’s Day this year, which he said showed she wished to rekindle their flame.

He said the complainant had gone to police as “retribution” for Mr Rookes ending their relationship. “This (incident) never happened,” Mr Katsinas said.

Both Mr Rookes, a suspended NSW Liberal Party member and web developer, and Ms O’Regan, 55, served together on the board of directors for the Sydney East Business Chamber.

The court heard on Friday that Ms O’Regan, once Scott Morrison’s pick for the federal seat of Wentworth, claimed she had argued with her then boyfriend over a dispute about a property she wanted to buy.

She told the court Mr Rookes yelled profanities at her, including calling her a “stupid c**t”, because he did not approve of the choice she made after he helped her scour the housing market.

In her evidence, Ms O’Regan said after the argument a drunk Mr Rookes fell asleep fully clothed on her bed, still wearing his RM Williams boots.

She said when he woke he began “punching his pillow” in a rage for letting him fall asleep before kicking her twice in the thigh.

She also said he spat on her bare back, held her against the wall by her neck and when asked to leave threatened he would be “back to rape you”.

Ms Atkinson said it was “surprising” no bruising was evident on Ms O’Regan’s neck or leg considering she was alleged to have been kicked by a man wearing boots.

In Mr Rooke’s evidence, he said the conversation about the property had been civil and he left amicably, adding that he could not have punched the pillows as he had recent surgery on a serious wrist injury.

Ms Atkinson ruled against his application for costs of the legal proceedings, saying the allegations needed to be tested in court.

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