One of the four taxi drivers accused of assaulting independent MP Geoff Shaw on the steps of Victorian Parliament has had charges against her withdrawn.
Magistrate Franz Holzer on Tuesday watched footage of the scuffle between the drivers and the balance-of-power MP and afterwards said there was ‘‘real doubt in my mind’’ whether Natalia Potapova touched Mr Shaw as he walked up the steps of Parliament House on October 15 last year.
Mr Holzer said based on the footage, the police case against Ms Potapova was not a strong one. Acting Sergeant Shaun Gunn, prosecuting, then withdrew the charges.
Ms Potapova, 46, was charged with two counts of assault. Police had alleged she grabbed Mr Shaw’s jacket during the altercation.
Earlier, Melbourne Magistrates Court heard that Ms Potapova told police it was not in her nature to touch the clothing of other people.
Defence counsel Morgan McLay said Ms Potapova had told police she did not ‘‘want someone else’s germs’’ and would not have touched the MP or his clothing.
‘‘She is absolutely adamant she didn’t touch Mr Shaw’s jacket,’’ Mr McLay said.
Mr Shaw and the cabbies were involved in a scuffle during a wider protest outside Parliament by drivers who were angry at changes to taxi laws.
The court heard Ms Potapova worked as a solicitor in Russia before she migrated to Australia and was a law-abiding citizen who had been protesting about the decline in monetary value of her taxi licence.
The three other drivers charged, John Zammit, Konstantinos Mandikos and Gianni Campobassi, are scheduled to appear before court later on Tuesday.