Successful appeal for reality TV star
Reality TV contestant and former Penthouse cover girl Suzi Taylor has had an assault conviction overturned on appeal after a media sting sparked a Brisbane hotel lobby fracas.
Taylor, whose real name is Suellen Jan Taylor, appealed the conviction after being found guilty in October of assaulting a furniture removalist.
The former contestant on home renovation series The Block was charged after an altercation with Thelma Anderson at the Gambaro Hotel in January 2020.
Taylor, 51, had agreed to meet Ms Anderson to receive a partial refund.
However, the meeting turned hostile when Taylor noticed she was being filmed by a cameraman from Nine - the same network that helped her rise to fame.
At one point, Ms Anderson also began filming Taylor, calling her names like "filthy slut" and "f***ing c***".
Footage of the incident showed an upset Taylor - who was not in Brisbane District Court on Friday - ask for the filming to stop before grabbing Ms Anderson's mobile phone during the confrontation.
Brisbane magistrate Rosemary Gilbert found Taylor assaulted Ms Anderson when she snatched the phone.
But District Court Judge Vicki Loury on Friday set aside the conviction and dismissed the assault complaint, ordering Taylor be paid $1500 in costs.
Taylor had appealed her conviction on the basis that either Ms Anderson was a consenting party to the application of force or that her conduct was provocative.
Judge Loury said Ms Anderson "clearly did provoke" Taylor.
"The only reasonable inference ... was that Ms Anderson filmed Ms Taylor in order to incite some violence from her which would be of interest to the television media," she said in her judgment.
"Ms Anderson's actions in filming ... were ... to incite in Ms Taylor the very response that she engaged in, which was a violent one.
"I do not consider that the prosecution excluded beyond reasonable doubt that Ms Taylor was acting under provocation when she struck the phone from Ms Anderson's hand."
Judge Loury also said there was an injustice by letting the verdict stand because the way the assault charge was particularised by prosecutors was not the basis on which Taylor was convicted.
Defence lawyer Michael Gatenby had conducted his case based on the Crown's allegation the assault was a push to Ms Anderson's shoulder, while Ms Gilbert convicted Taylor in relation to the phone snatching.