Sebastopol assault accused Anthony Bentley gives evidence in contested hearing

A 50-year-old man has strongly denied he assaulted his former partner at her Sebastopol house, telling a court she was enraged during an argument and he pushed her in self defence. 

In a lengthy cross-examination at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Anthony Scott Bentley repeatedly said he did not assault the mother of his 18-month-old child two days before Christmas Day in 2017.

The Navigators man, who gave evidence during the contested hearing, said he did not grab the woman’s throat for 30 seconds, did not hit her or smash her mobile phone.

He said he loved her and moved in with her three weeks before the incident, despite there being an intervention order in place. 

“She was enraged and came at me. I have just pushed her back. I don’t know how many times she lunged at me. I was more concerned about my little girl,” Bentley said.

Police suggested Bentley started the argument when he pressured his former partner to get her friend to change an affidavit.

But Bentley said the argument started when the complainant, who he said had been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis, accused him of not having any friends.

“She was obviously trying to upset me,” Bentley said.

“She got enraged and continued to smash her own phone to pieces.”

Bentley said the complainant assaulted him again outside the Sebastopol house before she picked up a large paint tin and smashed it against every panel of his car.

He said she poured white paint over his car and over him in a rage and fury. He then packed the car and drove to his Navigators bungalow with their baby daughter, who was his main concern.

Bentley told the court he experienced injuries as a result of the altercation and the arrest at the bungalow in the early hours of December 24.

He was taken by ambulance to Ballarat Base Hospital but was cleared of any injuries, the court was told.

The complainant’s mother, a police witness, told the court her daughter ran to her house after the alleged assault late on December 23.

“She ran to my house and I opened the door. My daughter was standing there. She was frightened, scared and bleeding from her lip,” the complainant’s mother said.

“She said a fight had broken out. She said he had struck her, he had taken her phone and smashed it and he pulled a chunk of her hair out.

“She looked like she had been in a war.”

Defence barrister James Portelli put to the complainant’s mother her daughter was upset earlier on December 23 after she lost $10 playing pokies at the Flying Horse Bistro.

But she said her daughter was spooked she saw Bentley, who spotted her car parked at the Flying Horse Bistro, driving in the car park after he put fuel in his car. 

“(The complainant) going to the pokies was a sore point for Anthony (Bentley),” Mr Portelli said.

Bentley is contesting six charges, including intentionally causing injury, damaging property, contravening a family violence intervention order, theft, destroying property and resisting police.

After hearing the defence and prosecution case, magistrate Ron Saines will now determine if Bentley is guilty or not guilty of the offences. He is expected to hand down his judgement on Friday.