From successful TV star to drug-addled criminal: Sunrise host and one-time White Ribbon advocate Andrew O’Keefe’s shocking fall from grace as he is convicted of domestic violence

Andrew O’Keefe was this week sentenced to an 18-month good behaviour bond after being found guilty of assaulting a woman in 2021. 

The embattled former Channel Seven star was hit with three sets of charges over multiple incidents in 2021, including assault causing actual bodily harm, breaching a domestic violence order and possession of the synthetic stimulant drug mephedrone.

It is just the latest in a long line of sad scandals for the former Deal or No Deal host, 52, who used to be one of Australia’s most popular TV presenters.

The former lawyer was once chairman of White Ribbon Australia, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of violence against women, and was even appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in for his extensive television and charity work. 

Sadly, O’Keefe has suffered a very public fall from grace in recent years, having spent time in prison and multiple rehabilitation clinics following a string of scandals.

From successful TV star to drug-addled criminal: Sunrise host and one-time White Ribbon advocate Andrew O’Keefe’s shocking fall from grace as he is convicted of domestic violence. Pictured in August 2006 with two ‘briefcase girls’ during his days hosting afternoon game show Deal or No Deal

Collapsing into a gutter after a night out in Melbourne 

In November 2008, video footage was obtained by The Herald Sun that saw Andrew trying to smoke a cigarette all while stumbling and collapsing into a gutter.

The TV personality had been enjoying a night out drinking at Melbourne nightclub Revolver well into the early hours of the morning.

The clip saw a blonde companion attempting to help him.

Seven soon went into damage control, releasing a statement insisting O’Keefe was ‘a family man’ and that he ‘never set out to deliberately offend anyone’. 

In November 2008, video footage was obtained by The Herald Sun that saw Andrew trying to smoke a cigarette all while stumbling and collapsing into a gutter

In November 2008, video footage was obtained by The Herald Sun that saw Andrew trying to smoke a cigarette all while stumbling and collapsing into a gutter

Erratic behaviour during coverage of Schapelle Corby’s return to Australia

O’Keefe displayed rather unusual behaviour during coverage of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby’s return to Australia on Weekend Sunrise in May 2017.

The former lawyer looked tired during the live broadcast and, at times, his speech appeared to be slurred.

He struggled to find the right words, slouched in his chair and occasionally burst out into laughter.

That same year, O’Keefe was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his charity work, namely as chairman of White Ribbon Australia.

O'Keefe displayed rather unusual behaviour during coverage of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby's return to Australia on Weekend Sunrise in May 2017

O’Keefe displayed rather unusual behaviour during coverage of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby’s return to Australia on Weekend Sunrise in May 2017

2021 assault allegations

In January 2021, O’Keefe was charged with slapping, kicking and spitting on his doctor girlfriend in a row over an ice pipe she claimed he was carrying at a party.  

He appeared before Sydney’s Waverley Local Court on June 25, charged with three counts of assaulting his ex-lover of two years, Dr Orly Lavee.

Two of the charges, which occurred at their home in Randwick, were dismissed on mental health grounds – although his lawyers indicated he would have otherwise pleaded guilty to them.

A third assault charge related to an alleged incident at Kangaroo Valley earlier in the year was withdrawn by prosecutors.

The court heard Mr O’Keefe, who suffers bipolar and substance abuse disorders, was in a ‘hyper-manic’ state during his dispute with Dr Lavee at their home on January 30 after the couple attended a birthday party in Surry Hills.

Magistrate Ross Hudson found Mr O’Keefe was remorseful and contrite. 

Following the assault allegations, Channel Seven dumped Andrew and replaced him as host of The Chase Australia with Larry Emdur.

In February, Seven confirmed he was no longer with the network and said it was ‘very concerned’ about the charges. 

Then in September of that same year, O’Keefe pleaded not guilty to domestic violence charges, with a court hearing police have ‘extensive footage’ of the night he allegedly assaulted a woman in a separate matter. 

During the confrontation Mr O’Keefe allegedly became aggressive and then spat at the woman and scratched her arm.

He then felt dizzy and short of breath and was transported to hospital for assessment but was later arrested. He spent the night at Surry Hills Police Station. 

In January 2024 he was found guilty of the charges and ordered to serve 18 months on a community corrections order, which involves supervision and reporting requirements.

He was fined $800 for drug offences. 

2022 assault allegations

O’Keefe was charged in January 2022 over allegations he choked, punched and kicked a woman at his city centre bachelor pad.

Police alleged the former host of The Chase Australia assaulted the 38-year-old woman after meeting her to discuss starting a business together at his unit on Kent Street in the Sydney CBD.

Police alleged O’Keefe had invited the woman over to his apartment to have the business discussion before the meeting turned violent.

‘A verbal argument ensued between the pair, before the man allegedly assaulted the woman – grabbing her by the throat, pushing her to the ground and punching her,’ a police spokesman said.

O'Keefe was charged in January 2022 over allegations he choked, punched and kicked a woman at his city centre bachelor pad. Pictured leaving court on December 14, 2022

O’Keefe was charged in January 2022 over allegations he choked, punched and kicked a woman at his city centre bachelor pad. Pictured leaving court on December 14, 2022 

O’Keefe then allegedly assaulted the woman a second time by punching and kicking her.

He was also charged with possessing 1.5 grams of cannabis. 

O’Keefe denied all charges except drug possession and claimed he acted in self-defence. 

At the time of the January incident O’Keefe was already on bail for a separate alleged incident of assault after being arrested in September. 

2023 drug driving allegations  

O’Keefe was stopped by police on January 20, 2023 as he was driving in his Mercedes C200 in Point Piper, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

A roadside breath test returned a positive result for methamphetamine or ‘ice’ before O’Keefe was taken to Waverley police station for a secondary test, which also returned positive. 

In December, O’Keefe escaped conviction after pleading guilty to driving with methamphetamine in his system and breaching his bail conditions.

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.

In December 2023, O'Keefe escaped conviction after pleading guilty to driving with methamphetamine in his system and breaching his bail conditions. Pictured leaving court on November 1, 2023

In December 2023, O’Keefe escaped conviction after pleading guilty to driving with methamphetamine in his system and breaching his bail conditions. Pictured leaving court on November 1, 2023 

‘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 O’Keefe is doing in relation to his drug and health issues I’m prepared to not record a conviction.’

The magistrate instead sentenced O’Keefe to a 12-month community release order.

2024 sentencing for multiple offences 

On Wednesday, O’Keefe was found guilty of multiple domestic violence and drug offences.

The former broadcaster was hit with three sets of charges, including assault causing actual bodily harm, breaching a domestic violence order and possession of 1.6g of the synthetic stimulant drug mephedrone known as ‘meow meow’.

Magistrate Alison Viney on Wednesday found O’Keefe’s actions in kicking, spitting, scratching and otherwise assaulting a woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

O’Keefe earlier pleaded guilty to contravening an apprehended domestic violence order and cannabis possession but denied further charges of assault and drug possession.

Ms Viney described his behaviour over multiple incidents in September 2021 as ‘frightening and degrading’ for the victim and said there was consistency in her evidence.

The court heard O’Keefe called the woman a ‘lying dog’ and a ‘c***’, and he was accused of assaulting her on several occasions.

He had previous charges dismissed on mental health grounds following an incident in January 2021, during which he slapped the woman and spat in her face.

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On Wednesday, O'Keefe was found guilty of multiple domestic violence and drug offences. Pictured leaving court on January 24, 2024

On Wednesday, O’Keefe was found guilty of multiple domestic violence and drug offences. Pictured leaving court on January 24, 2024

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