Madeleine West has expressed disdain for her ex-partner Shannon Bennett’s father’s claim that he is afraid of her.
The former Neighbors star is fighting an arrest warrant issued two months ago by a magistrate, who described the mother of Bennett’s six children as “evasive, almost aggressive and frightening.”
After being granted a sojourn on the two-year order, which bans her from Bennett’s Byron Bay mWhen her father-in-law visits her children who live there, West appeals to NSW District Court.
At a hearing before Judge Jonathon Priestly in Coffs Harbor on Thursday, West’s lawyer claimed that the reason Benny Bennett complained to the police about his former daughter-in-law ‘was because his son told him to take action’.
Andrew Fernon, SC, told the NSW District Court that the reason 75-year-old Mr Bennett said ‘I don’t speak to her’ was not because he was afraid of her, but a result of the ‘ongoing battle between… Madeleine and Shannon.
In Mr Bennett’s Evidence in Chief deposition on domestic violence, the court heard he had described West’s actions at the Byron Bay home on May 4 last year as: ‘She pushed me on the arm, she pushed me aside , she just pushed me away. ,’ And, ‘[She] stormed through the gate’.
But Mr Fernon argued that there had been no evidence of harassment since the incident and that an AVO could only be installed on the basis of ‘repeated … persistent conduct and that evidence is simply lacking’.
Madeleine West (seen near Byron Bay before appearing in court in March) has challenged a two-year AVO that effectively banned her from ex-partner Shannon Bennett’s Byron Bay mansion
West’s lawyer claimed that the reason Shannon Bennett’s 75-year-old father (above, the chef) was because the celebrity had enlisted him as part of the estranged couple’s “ongoing struggle”
West’s lawyer said Mr Bennett had stated that he ‘never really had any bad words for her’, but the reason he did not speak to her was because of the adversarial ‘marital relationship’ between her and his son.
Mr Fernon said it was that and not the so-called ‘barging’ incident that Benny Bennett was referring to when he told police about his grandchildren: ‘I won’t do it again. I’ll tell my son. At my age it’s very stressful, I don’t want the kids to go through what’s happening. It hits them.’
When Benny Bennett said ‘I can’t be the meat in the middle’, Mr Fernon argued that this was not a result of West barging into Byron’s house uninvited.
Video of the incident was played for Judge Priestley of West going to collect her daughter from Benny Bennett while Shannon was abroad.
Various footage of the meeting of five CCTV cameras on the chief’s property shows West making her way to the estate, Benny Bennett throwing his hands in the air as she marches into the house, and her half-doing her daughter. tow to the car.
Mr. Bennett follows the pair outside and then speaks to Mrs. West before driving off.
West’s lawyer said Benny Bennett (pictured) was no longer afraid of his ex-daughter-in-law Madeleine West, and that his son had told him to go to the police and file a complaint.
The court heard that the Neighbors star and her celebrity chef ex (the former couple is pictured in March 2016) had an ongoing battle that included their six children
In confirming the AVO at Byron Bay Local Court in March this year, magistrate Karen Stafford said the CCTV footage “shows she nearly dragged that child off that property. She pushed her way through the door when it looked like she had [been] access denied.’
Magistrate Stafford said that except for one inconsistency, she found Benny Bennett “a reliable witness.” i didn’t like it [West] to be a reliable witness’.
A residence order on the AVO was issued on April 13 and will remain in effect until June 26.
Mr Fernon argued that the Magistrate had made ‘mistakes of fact and law’ and that Benny Bennett’s statement to police was ‘contrary to what had happened’.
‘He lives in Victoria, his son lives in Byron Bay and she [West and Benny Bennett] have little to do with each other’.
Judge Priestley replied that it was “a little long reading it as you suggest.” His fear found through [Magistrate Stafford] is based on the fact that every time he visits he is scared like [Shannon Bennett] is not there, he fears that he will be invaded by her’.
District Attorney Nicola Breward briefly argued that Benny Bennett “wasn’t welcome [West] inside… she made the decision to access the door, enters the premises without invitation.
“He’s obviously feeling some kind of stress. He’s elderly and hard of hearing, she shows up unannounced, that’s all.’
Judge Priestley said he would present his findings on June 26, or sooner if a vacancy arises in the court schedule.
Mr Fernon said that if he won he would file charges, which His Honor said he thought the parties would ‘do nicely’.
West launched her appeal immediately after the March AVO ruling, in which magistrate Stafford warned the actress to comply with the ban or face a two-year prison sentence.
A magistrate has now issued a two-year AVO against West (pictured), warning her that if she approaches and harass Shannon Bennett’s father, she could face up to two years in prison
Ms Stafford warned West not to “harm Mr Bennett physically” and to refrain from “threatening or harassing him, damaging his property or harming his animals” and that she “must not enter any place where he lives or works, including [Shannon Bennett’s Byron Bay property].
“If there is an offence, the police may charge you with the felony of violating the domestic violence arrest warrant and you could be jailed for up to two years.”
Shannon Bennett, who rose to fame with MasterChef Australia, revealed in May last year how his and West’s divorce process had “turned love-toxic.”
In 2020, West left Melbourne and moved to Byron Bay to be near her children, purchasing her own $4.6 million mansion in Suffolk Park.
More recently, the actress and podcaster revealed she was a victim of child sexual abuse.
She spoke publicly for the first time about her battle with anorexia, saying the trauma of abuse caused her to become obsessed with looking “perfect” — a task that was both “punishing” and never-ending.
“For any sexually abused person, what happened to them will manifest in their life in self-destructive behavior,” she said earlier this year.
Last year, Shannon Bennett said West saw their children bi-weekly, with them spending the rest of the time with him.
“The kids live with me full time and they visit their mom for a few days every two weeks,” he revealed.
WHO IS MADELEINE WEST?
Madeleine West is an actress and model who first gained fame playing the characters Dee Bliss and then Andrea Somers on the hit TV series Neighbours, the first role in the early 2000s and the second between 2017 and 2020.
While filming Neighbors, West was hit by a bus and suffered a head injury that required her to relearn her motor skills.
An amateur performer as a child, West also appeared in the TV series Underbelly and Fat Tony & Co.
West was once engaged to Shopping for Love co-host Peter Lazer before moving on to restaurateur Shannon Bennett, who was best known for his guest appearances on MasterChef.
The couple met in 2005 and had six children together before splitting in 2018 – a process Bennett described as a case of love turning “toxic.” They never married.
West wrote a book about her experiences with motherhood entitled Six Under Eight.
Despite her split from Bennett, West moved to Byron in 2020 and bought a $4.6 million home to be closer to her children, who live with the chef at his waterfront estate Byron.
In 2022, West announced she would run in the 2023 NSW election as an independent for the Ballina seat, but she did not nominate.
In January 2023, West revealed that she had been sexually abused as a child and that the trauma she endured had caused her to suffer from anorexia.