Actor Matthew Newton must face court over assault charges against him, a Sydney magistrate has ruled.
Magistrate Ellen Skinner today rejected an application by Newton's lawyer Chris Murphy to have the charges against him dealt with under Section 32 of the Mental Health Act in North Sydney Local Court.
Newton, 35, is charged with punching taxi driver Mohsen Khayami, 66, in the left side of the neck while he was seated in his taxi at Crows Nest in northern Sydney on December 4.
Newton, the son of showbusiness couple Bert and Patti Newton, is also charged with punching Mr Khayami twice in the region of his head.
Mr Murphy told the court Newton, who is currently in the United States, was suffering from bipolar and obsessive compulsive disorder at the time of the alleged incident.
Mr Murphy asked the magistrate to allow Newton to remain in America, where he said arrangements had been made to place the actor under the care of an experienced nurse.
He asked Ms Skinner to ‘‘fulfill the hopes’’ of section 32 and divert Newton from the criminal system.
Under this section, charges can be dismissed, either entirely or with conditions, including undergoing treatment.
Police prosecutor Rick Mansley opposed the application, saying ‘‘there’s no surety in this court (Newton) is going to get the treatment he needs’’.
‘‘My friend is saying leave him over in America. Let him do his own thing,’’ Mr Mansley said.
‘‘We don’t even know what that is.’’
Magistrate Skinner noted charges against Newton had been dealt with under section 32 in April last year.
‘‘That has not successfully diverted him from coming back to the attention of the courts,’’ she said.
She added she was not satisfied it was in the public interest to deal with Newton under the Mental Health Act and adjourned the matter for hearing at Downing Centre Local Court on April 10.Mr Murphy said he intended to appeal the decision.