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Former Elite Soldier Heston Russell Cleared of Assault Allegations After Court Ruling



Australian Defence Force veteran and former senate candidate Heston Russell has been cleared of assault allegations following a recent court ruling in Sydney.

The case, stemming from an incident at a Woolloomooloo address in January 2022, saw Russell facing accusations of assault and threatening behaviour.

During the trial at Downing Centre Local Court, Stephen Pate, the complainant, recounted an instance where Russell allegedly made physical advances towards another man, claiming he kissed the man on the neck.

Pate testified that when Russell was informed that the man had a boyfriend he became agitated and had to be repeatedly told to ‘go away’.

Russell was accused of responding with a menacing remark, allegedly threatening to throw Pate off the balcony.

Mr Pate alleged that he felt a ‘whack’ on the side of his head which caused him a ‘ringing’ in his head and ‘momentary blackness’.

Russell, in his defence, admitted to making the balcony comment but maintained it was intended humorously to deter further interaction and keep people away from him.

He vehemently denied physically assaulting Pate, citing the fact they were far too close to each other for it to have taken place.

Testimonies from witnesses presented inconsistencies, with varying accounts regarding the alleged assault.

Magistrate Margaret Quinn, in her assessment, acknowledged the role of alcohol during the incident, noting discrepancies in witness recollections.

While reports of altercations at the afterparty were acknowledged, inconsistencies in witness testimonies cast doubt on the legitimacy of the assault claims.

‘I cannot say beyond reasonable doubt Mr Heston Russell punched Mr Stephen Pate on the evidence before me, given all those inconsistencies, and I find his account was honest’ she said.

In her ruling, Quinn cited the lack of conclusive evidence beyond reasonable doubt, affirming Russell’s account as credible.

Following the court’s decision, Russell expressed his remorse over the incident, acknowledging personal lessons to be learned.

He attributed the miscommunication at the party to excessive intoxication but maintained his adherence to the law throughout the ordeal.

‘I’m very sorry it came to this in the court… the law was not broken,’ remarked Russell outside the courtroom.

Russell has always maintained his innocence.

At the time the accusations were made the veteran released a statement reiterating his confidence that he would not be found guilty.

Rachel Adams

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