Friends of cricket great Michael Slater’s have spoken about his private battle with bipolar disorder.
Mr Slater is facing domestic violence charges over allegedly stalking and using a carriage service to harass his former partner Melanie Livesey.
A judge warned the 51-year-old about his request to escape the charges on mental health grounds.
Magistrate Carolyn Huntsman told the former Test opener’s lawyer such applications often go ‘outrageously poorly’ and he should reconsider his defence.
Michael Slater leaves Manly Police Station last month after being charged over an alleged domestic violence incident (above)
Mr Slater was arrested in October at a house in Manly, in Sydney’s northern beaches suburbs.
But a friend of Slater said he had been battling mental health problems.
‘I would caution that he does have bipolar, he’s had it for many years,’ a person speaking on condition of anonymity told the Courier Mail.
Mr Slater first revealed he was suffering from bipolar disorder in March 2005 during an interview with Andrew Denton on his ABC TV show Enough Rope.
He said he was forced to give up cricket after constant panic attacks and back pain.
He also suffered feelings of impending doom, saying ‘I felt that every day I was going to die’.
The batsman said at the time that he hoped talking about his illness would help people understand why his behaviour had sometimes appeared erratic.
Michael Slater remains in hospital while his lawyer applied to have his charges under Section 14 of the Mental Health Act on Thursday (pictured, Slater leaves court on October 20)
According to court documents, Mr Slater allegedly used his mobile phone between March and October this year ‘to menace or harass,’ while the intimidation allegedly occurred between October 12 and 13 in Randwick in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
His lawyer James McLoughlin told Waverley Local Court that his client was in hospital for ‘related treatment’ and had been assessed by a forensic psychiatrist .
Mr McLoughlin said he would be applying to have the matter dealt with under Section 14 of the Mental Health Act on December 23, and indicated a plea would be entered on that occasion.
Magistrate Carolyn Huntsman at first baulked at the request saying ‘are you kidding me?’
The magistrate explained the busy court workload was ‘terrible’ and would be inundated with bail reviews just before Christmas.
She warned Mr McLoughlin she had recently seen mental health applications go very badly and asked for his submissions in advance.
‘I have seen section 14 applications run outrageously poorly and you will not, I’m sure, but [I want] written submissions, everything, to respect the court’s time, material sent to us in advance,’ Ms Huntsman said.
‘It’s impossible for the court a lot of the time, with our workload, the way section 14s are prepared and presented… I’m sure I don’t have to say it to [someone of] your quality.’
Australian Test cricket great Michael Slater (pictured) was arrested over an alleged domestic stalking incident in October
Ms Huntsman agreed to grant Mr Slater the December hearing date and he will return to court on December 23.
The former cricket star played in 74 Tests for Australia, scoring 5312 runs at an average of 42.83 after making his debut during the 1993 Ashes tour of England.
The opening batsman also played 42 one-day internationals, scoring just under 1,000 runs before retiring from major cricket in 2004.
Slater was recently dropped from Seven Network’s commentary team for the upcoming summer cricket season, with the network choosing not to renew his contract, citing budgetary pressures.
In 2021, Slater travelled to India to commentate on the Indian Premier League competition.
Slater with his partner Melanie Livesey before his arrest last month
As the Covid-19 pandemic escalated there he made controversial comments on social media criticising Australia’s travel restrictions when a flight ban from India was imposed in response to escalating virus infections.
At one stage he claimed Prime Minister Scott Morrison had ‘blood on his hands’ over his handling of the situation.
‘If our government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home,’ Slater tweeted on May 3.
‘It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system.’
Mr Morrison later described the comments as ‘obviously absurd’.
Mr Slater returned to Australia via the Maldives, a route also taken by other Australian players, coaches and officials at the IPL.
His Twitter feed has been inactive since.