New Delhi: Former Australian cricketer-turned-television commentator Michael Slater managed to avoid jail Wednesday as charges of domestic violence against him were dropped on mental health grounds.
The 52-year-old former Australian batsman had made an appeal for the allegations to be dealt with under the country’s Mental Health Act.
On Wednesday, Slater was due to appear in the Waverley local court in Sydney. However, he didn’t turn up to court as he was detained by police and ambulance officers the night before and taken to the mental health unit at Sydney’s Northern Beaches Hospital, local media Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
A judge ruled he would not have to deal with prison time, approving Slater’s claim that his actions were a result of his mental health issues.
Slater was first charged with stalking and intimidating his ex-partner, Melanie Livesey, by New South Wales state police last October and later arrested at his home in Manly.
On 11 November, he was slapped with an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) at his first court appearance, which he breached by calling and sending 60 text messages to his ex-partner.
“Since February, Mr Slater has recognised his need to stay medicated and to stay on top of his mental health,” Magistrate Ross Hudson was quoted as saying in the court.
“He’s shown a tangible commitment to therapy and counselling,” the magistrate said.
Slater has also consulted five psychiatrists and spent more than 100 days in various mental health facilities, according to the magistrate.
The court was also told that Slater has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, alcohol addiction, borderline personality disorder, and ADHD.
His altercation with Dravid
Slater had run into an infamous altercation with former Indian cricketer and current Team India head coach Rahul Dravid, who is known for his calm demeanour on and off the field.
The incident took place during the Indian innings in the first Test match of the 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Mumbai when the Aussie player had appealed for a catch which seemed to have touched the ground, leaving Dravid visibly miffed.
Tony Greig had also raised questions over Slater’s judgment on air by asking, “Did he catch it? I don’t think so, I thought that bounced.”
On-field umpire, Srinivas Venkataraghavan referred the decision to the third umpire; who ruled that the batsman was not out.
Slater walked towards Dravid as the Indian shook his head in disapproval, and the two ended up exchanging a few words in the end.
Slater was a right-handed batsman and an occasional bowler for the Australian national team, after his debut in June 1993.
He debuted in the Ashes tour that year and scored a half-century for his side. Slater was handy in test cricket, but he couldn’t get going in the limited-overs format of the game.
He played 74 test matches for the Australian Cricket Team, and scored 5,312 runs with the help of 14 centuries and 21 half-centuries, averaging 42.83.
In the ODI format, he scored 987 runs in his 42 innings, including 9 half-centuries and a forgettable average of 24.07.
He announced retirement from the game in June of 2004, due to his chronic arthritic condition. Following his retirement, Slater took to commentating but was axed by the Australian television network, Seven Network, last year.