Australian fashion designer Wayne Cooper has been acquitted of assaulting his estranged wife.
Police arrested the 60-year-old at his NSW north coast home in May after receiving reports of historical domestic violence against his wife and former model Sarah Marsh.
They alleged the father of two had assaulted Marsh during two separate incidents.
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However, inconsistencies in evidence prompted Magistrate Emma Manea to find him not guilty of both charges at Waverley Local Court on Friday.
The prosecution initially claimed Cooper assaulted her during a 2016 argument when he threw a toy bear at Marsh.
Fashion designer Wayne Cooper had been accused of assaulting his ex-wife and former model Sarah Marsh. Credit: AAP
Marsh says she started recording a video to try deterring him.
The recording, presented to the court shows the couple yelling and trading expletive-laden verbal shots.
“Come on police officer, can you come and arrest me for picking up a furry bear?” Cooper said in the video, mocking Marsh.
The former model said her ex-husband was pushing into her body while trying to knock the phone from her hand.
While the defence did not deny an argument had occurred, Cooper’s barrister Hugh White claimed Marsh was lying.
“You’re just making all this up, aren’t you? This was a deliberate attempt to provoke him into hitting you, wasn’t it?” he asked during cross-examination.
During his testimony, Cooper said his wife would often threaten abuse, kick, punch and goad him, and that her decision to follow him with a camera was a continuation of this.
“(It was) purely to provoke me to escalate a situation I didn’t want to be escalating,” he said.
Marsh’s insistence on recording the interaction meant his client was required to take “reasonable force” to stop her phone from coming into contact with him, White said.
The prosecution had also claimed Marsh was hanging laundry on December 14, 2015, when Cooper threw the clothes into the pool during an argument, before using a pool skimmer to fish out the garments.
When he returned to the house, the crown lawyer claimed he grabbed Marsh by both arms and shoved her against a glass panel.
Testifying in court, Marsh said she developed bruises and scratches from the incident and had to ring a friend to take her away from the family home.
“I was scared,” she said.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen next, and I wanted to get away from him.”
However, photos of her alleged injuries did not convincingly prove she had sustained scratches.
The two were married for more than a decade but have now separated.
This is not the first time the British-born designer has faced criminal charges.
Police charged Cooper with assaulting his wife days after she underwent cancer surgery in June 2008.
Charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and intimidation were dropped, but he pleaded guilty to common assault in October that year and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.
From the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Cooper was best known for his fashion labels BRAVE and WAYNE.
His works have appeared at Australian Fashion Week and overseas showcases, often modelled by internationally renowned names like Amber Valletta, Linda Evangelista and Alek Wek.
He has also been a guest on reality television show Australia’s Next Top Model.