Michael Slater avoids jail on mental health grounds in domestic violence case

A Sydney court has dismissed domestic violence charges against former Australia cricket star Michael Slater on mental health grounds, the country's state media have reported.

The 52-year-old was arrested in October 2021 and charged with harassment and intimidation of his ex-wife following alleged domestic violence. He was then arrested again in December for breaching a restraining order, having allegedly attempted to call his former partner 18 times, as well as sending her 66 texts in two-and-a-half hours.

Player-turned-pundit Slater was set to appear in Waverley Local Court but did not attend after he was detained by police and ambulance officers on Tuesday. Police prosecutor Sergeant Lachlan Kirby told the court Slater had instead been taken to a mental health facility on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Instead of facing a jail sentence, the ex-batsman was ordered to spend three weeks in a mental health unit.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported Slater has seen five separate psychiatrists and spent 108 days in various mental health facilities.

"Since February, Mr Slater has recognised his need to stay medicated and to stay on top of his mental health," the ABC quoted Magistrate Ross Hudson on Wednesday in court. "He's shown a tangible commitment to therapy and counselling."

Police prosecutors previously told the court Slater was "controlling," but his barrister, Richard Pontello, argued his client was "suffering a major depressive disorder and ADHD at the time. The court also heard at the time he had relapsed into alcohol abuse.

Slater made 74 Test appearances for Australia, as well as featuring in 42 ODIs between 1993 and 2001. He then became a commentator for Australian network Channel Seven in 2018 but was relieved of his broadcasting duties last October.

Hudson ruled that Slater's case be handled via the Mental Health Act and that he must adhere to a 12-month treatment plan. As part of the ruling, the ex-international will be subject to a five-year AVO (apprehended domestic/personal violence order) from his ex-partner.

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