Sports journalist found not guilty of assault, choking

A sports journalist's charges of assaulting and choking a woman, with whom he'd been in an on and off relationship, have been dismissed.

Magistrate Daniel Reiss found Daily Telegraph rugby league writer and Fox Sports presenter Paul Kent not guilty after the prosecution's case was deemed insufficient. 

The charges that Kent contested stemmed from an incident at a home in Sydney's inner west in May, when he was accused of grabbing Lucy Kennedy, 33, by the throat during a fight over his mobile phone. 

Mr Reiss described the "emotional and heated set of circumstances" leading to a "tussle over the phone". 

"There's certainly nothing in the observable objectively assessable material to substantiate that there is an injury," the magistrate said in his decision. 

"I didn’t strike her, I came into contact with her," Kent maintained throughout cross-examination about the altercation that ended in Ms Kennedy alleging she had been choked after they grappled and fell to the ground. 

Kent, 54, said they had been dating on and off since February 2021 after meeting in November 2020, but the relationship was "basically finished". 

"We were - it was just - the end of any relationship, trouble after trouble, incident after incident," he told Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday. 

Kent said Ms Kennedy had entered his home without his knowledge and confronted him, then took his phone. 

Ms Kennedy said in a police interview played to the court on Monday that Kent had "done this before".

Kent recounted a conversation with a police officer after being arrested, saying the officer told him to answer "no" to any questions relating to the incident, including whether he wanted to be interviewed and whether he had assaulted Ms Kennedy.  

"If you say no to all three questions, they will probably let you go because her case is weak," Kent said he was told by the officer, who had turned his body camera off.

"I said, 'Thank you'," he told the court. 

The court also heard evidence from a physiotherapist who had treated Ms Kennedy after the alleged assault, noting yellow bruising and swelling on her neck and a limited range of movement that he concluded was consistent with trauma to the neck. 

A second medical expert who examined Ms Kennedy in the days following the incident said the evidence was inconclusive, which the magistrate agreed with. 

Kent was stood down from his positions at the Daily Telegraph and Fox Sports while court proceedings were underway.

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