The taxi driver allegedly assaulted by troubled actor Matthew Newton almost climbed out the car’s window to escape the enraged star, a court heard today.
North Sydney Local Court this afternoon was told Newton and cabbie Mohsen Khayami, 66, clashed after the actor refused to say where he was going.
The 34-year-old Underbelly star allegedly grabbed the driver’s shirt and then punched him in the head after the pair got out on the roadway.
A witness allegedly saw Newton push the man in the chest before saying “are you going to attack me?”.
Newton was charged with assault following the incident in Crows Nest on December 4.
There was no sign of the actor in court today, with his solicitor Chris Murphy telling a magistrate that the actor was currently living in a “peaceful, Midwestern community” in the USA.
Mr Murphy said Newton was taking a “bomb load” of medication every day and had been struggling with the side effects of the drugs at the time of the alleged attack.
“The aim for this young man is to find himself a quiet community he can live in,” he said. “He just needs to have some normalcy.”
Newton was suffering from manic depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress, Mr Murphy told the court. “I’m saying that (the alleged assault) occurred at a time when his mental illness was it its worst,” he said.
But Magistrate Ellen Skinner said she hadn’t been given any evidence that Newton had actually been diagnosed with the conditions or that he was taking the drug cocktail as claimed.
She adjourned an application to have the charges dealt with under the Mental Health Act until tomorrow.
Mr Murphy earlier told reporters outside the court that a campaign had been waged in the media against his famous client.
Newton, the son of showbusiness couple Bert and Patti Newton, admitted to a 2006 assault on former girlfriend and actress Brooke Satchwell.
Newton’s conviction for the crime was later quashed after he successfully pleaded he was mentally ill at the time of the attack.