Celebrity fitness guru Michelle Bridges has lost her legal battle to have an apprehended violence order taken out against a Sydney photographer on Friday.
Magistrate Joanne Keogh said while Ms Bridges experienced frustration towards the intrusions into her private life, it did not warrant an AVO against 21-year-old paparazzo Liam Mendes.
Police made the application on her behalf in April this year following two encounters between Ms Bridges and Mr Mendes within a week.
The Biggest Loser trainer told a hearing last week Mr Mendes was one of the photographers that almost caused her to fall down a set of stairs while pushing her newborn son in a pram outside a restaurant.
“This is the first time I have ever felt so intimidated and threatened and fearful for what could come,” Ms Bridges said while giving evidence.
The second incident occurred when Mr Mendes was Ms Bridges filmed grocery shopping which led to a confrontation between the two.
However, the magistrate said an AVO was not appropriate.
“It cannot regulate behaviour so someone is courteous,” Ms Keogh said.
“It cannot regulate behaviour so someone is considerate, or so someone does not frustrate or annoy another person.”
Outside court, Mr Mendes said the magistrate’s decision was important in allowing paparazzi and the media to do their jobs.
“If someone of public interest doesn’t want to have their photo taken or be in the public eye, even though they are out there looking for it, we still have got that right to go out there and do that,” he said.
Ms Bridges’ management said the fitness personality accepted the public interest in her life but not at the expense of her family’s safety.
“Michelle has always acknowledged there is a positive synergy between her profile, the media and her business, and she fully accepts that paparazzi take pictures of her and her family in her private life,” Chic Talent Management said in a statement.
“In this instance, however, where her family, and in particular her child and partner’s children, were put into a precariously dangerous situation, the intrusion became totally unacceptable.”
Mr Mendes’ barrister Ian Temby argued no laws were broken by his client and there was no threat to Ms Bridges’ safety to justify the apprehended violence order.
“Even my friend the prosecutor can put the matter no higher than saying there was inappropriate conduct or there was unacceptable conduct in my client persisting to take photographs,” Mr Temby said.
The court heard that the pair has not had contact since the two incidents.