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The Age: Former Neighbours star David Clencie released from jail after latest family violence order breach

A former Neighbours star has been released from prison in Melbourne after again breaching a family violence order.

David Clencie, 50, who has also appeared in The Sullivans and Blue Heelers in a 20-year career, was recently arrested by police at the home of a woman protected from him by an intervention order for family violence.

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Tuesday that Clencie and the woman, who have been in a relationship, were each listed as “recidivist family violence offenders”.

Clencie had been arrested last October over allegations he had assaulted her, a matter that was resolved earlier this year with a guilty plea after he had served a period on remand.

Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Damon Hunter told the court that Clencie had previously continuously breached intervention orders protecting her and that he had been released 10 days before committing the further offence that breached a current order.

Leading Senior Constable Hunter said that on March 30 about 8.30pm police attended the woman’s address to conduct a “compliance check” on the order which was in place to protect her from Clencie.

The order fully prohibited him from having any contact with the woman, who Fairfax Media has chosen not to name.

On knocking on the door, police heard male and female voices but she denied a male was present, and claimed her “new boyfriend” had recently left.

Police, however, found Clencie hiding behind a couch in the lounge room and arrested him.

He later made full admissions and said the woman had invited him to the apartment, that he wanted to be with her and they planned to get married.

In court on Tuesday, Clencie appeared in the dock between two guards and pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching an intervention order, as the woman looked on.

His lawyer Anthony Brand said the woman had recently applied to have removed all of the conditions on the intervention order except one that he not assault her.

Mr Brand said Clencie once had a “very successful career on television” and had missed a recent reunion of the Neighbours cast and crew because he had been in custody.

He told magistrate Tim Bourke that Clencie, who had had a long issue with alcohol but now was substantially free of it, and the woman should have waited until the order was fully resolved but that “on two occasions she invited him in”.

“It has all the hallmarks of a Shakespearian tragedy,” Mr Brand said.

Clencie was now engaged in rehabilitation and paying for counselling and had detoxified over two months in custody.

“They should have waited,” Mr Brand repeated, to which Mr Bourke remarked: “Love will do that.”

Mr Bourke told Clencie that superior courts in Victoria had for a long time advised other jurisdictions to sentence offenders, where appropriate, to jail for acts of family violence.

He warned him that courts could not endlessly monitor him or his partner and that he and her had take responsibility for their lives, but that if he abused her “I will have no hesitation in sending you to jail”.

Clencie was jailed for 15 days – the period he had served on remand – and was told by Mr Bourke that if he had pleaded not guilty to the charge, and been found guilty, he would have been jailed for three months

Senior Court Reporter for The Age