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Man in court over alleged assault on Premier -

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Man in court over alleged assault on Premier

Nance Haxton reported this story on Monday, December 7, 2009 12:30:00

ELEANOR HALL: To Adelaide now ane the man who allegedly hit the South Australian Premier with a
newspaper at a Labor Party function two months ago, appeared at the Adelaide Magistrates Court this
morning.

Richard Wayne Phillips said he would plead not guilty to a charge of assaulting the Premier, Mike
Rann. But the case has generated a lot of unwanted publicity for the Premier with the accused man's
estranged wife alleging that she had an affair with Mr Rann.

Nance Haxton was at the court this morning and she joins us now.

Nance, Mr Phillips is pleading not guilty - did his lawyer set out how he would argue that case
because this alleged assault did take place at a very public event, didn't it?

NANCE HAXTON: Yes, it certainly did Eleanor. It occurred, the event was in October. It was a Labor
Party fundraiser at the National Wine Centre here in Adelaide and while that was a very public
event, what Mr Phillips' lawyer Jon Lister has said is that basically they are going to make a
central part of their case, the alleged relationship between the South Australian Premier, Mike
Rann and his estranged wife Ms Chantelois. That that would be a central part of the case, and
basically whether his client's actions amounted to unlawful conduct when you take that relationship
into account.

ELEANOR HALL: Did the judge say whether he will allow Ms Chantelois to give evidence?

NANCE HAXTON: Well, his lawyer has requested statements from both Ms Chantelois and also Mike
Rann's wife, Sasha Carruozzo and also indicated that they could be called to give evidence, along
with the Premier Mike Rann.

The police prosecution didn't voice any objections to that in court and the magistrate didn't
comment on it at this stage so we will probably have to wait until January to see the outcome of
that.

ELEANOR HALL: How damaging could this be for the Premier? He denies that there was an affair,
doesn't he?

NANCE HAXTON: Yes. He held a press conference soon after Michelle Chantelois' claims and
definitively denied having a sexual relationship with her even though he said he had a flirty
friendship with her.

But it certainly doesn't appear to have affected him in the polls as yet, Eleanor although we are
eagerly waiting the next polls which are due to come out very soon.

Of course, there is the election in March and with this court case coming up in January, the
election on March the 20th, this certainly isn't the sort of publicity that Mr Rann would be
wanting and he is doing all that he can to focus the media on him doing his job and ignoring this
case.

But I think there is no doubt Eleanor that ever since Mr Rann was allegedly assaulted at the
National Wine Centre, there have been questions as to why someone would attack the Premier in this
way. So this court case will be followed with some interest I'm sure.

ELEANOR HALL: How long is it likely to run?

NANCE HAXTON: Well, it will depend what really happens. It is listed for mention at the
Magistrate's Court in January so it will depend what happens from there.

This could, though could ruin potentially beyond the election which I imagine would be the ideal
outcome in many people's eyes but it will be interesting to see where it proceeds from there.

ELEANOR HALL: How did Mr Phillips react outside the court today?

NANCE HAXTON: Well, he was followed by quite a sizeable media pack for about five minutes down the
street outside the magistrate's court but he didn't comment at all and when he was asked how he was
feeling, all he said was 'good' so we'll have to wait until January to hear more on this one.

ELEANOR HALL: It will be an interesting case to follow. Nance Haxton at the court in Adelaide,
thank you.