Greek-Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has pleaded guilty to the assault of his ex-girlfriend, Chiara Passari, but has ultimately avoided a criminal conviction.
The court case related to an incident in 2021, when Kyrgios pushed Passari to the ground during an argument in Canberra.
Kyrgios’ lawyers initially tried to have the charge dismissed on mental health grounds. When this failed, he pleaded guilty in the Canberra court. The court decided not to criminally convict him.
Nick Kyrgios in court
The tennis star appeared in court for an incident that occurred on January 10, 2021, in the Australian capital of Canberra. The court heard how Nikos Kyrgios pushed his then girlfriend Chiara Passari to the floor when she prevented his car from pulling away during an argument.
Passari reported the incident to the police a month after it occurred but did not issue a formal complaint. The pair then reconciled and resumed their relationship. However, this was short-lived and after they split up a second time, Passari made a formal complaint in December 2021.
The lawyer representing Kyrgios told the court that his client had attempted to de-escalate the argument by calling an Uber so he could leave. Passari prevented him from leaving which prompted Kyrgios to “lawfully” try and move her away from the car.
“It is in that context and the frustration that resulted, that my client reacted and the offence occurred,” said Michael Kukulies-Smith, the lawyer of Kyrgios.
The court was told that Kyrgios swore at Passari and told her to leave. He then attempted to move her away from the car by placing his hands on her hips and moving her at arm’s length from the door. However, Passari stepped back as Kyrgios pushed her on the shoulder, causing her to fall to the floor.
Passari sustained grazing to her knee and felt some pain. Kyrgios reached out to her to apologize the next day, an action which demonstrated he had taken responsibility for his actions, lawyer Kukulies-Smith argued.
The defence team of Nikos Kyrgios also made an argument that his mental health impacted his decision-making when the incident occurred.
Kukulies-Smith argued that there was “a relationship between Kyrgios’ mental health and the offending – even though he no longer suffers it to the same extent today.”
Kyrgios’ psychologist also spoke to the court. He told the court that the athlete suffered from a “recurrent” mental illness and that he had experienced thoughts of self-harm, but his condition had been getting better.
Ultimately, the court decided against convicting Kyrgios on criminal charges. Magistrate Beth Campbell described Kyrgios as “a young man trying to extricate himself from a heightened emotional situation”.
“You acted in the heat of the moment,” she told the tennis player. “I am dealing with you in the same way I would deal with any young man in this court. You are a young man who happens to hit a tennis ball particularly well.”
Kyrgios released a statement expressing his gratitude for the court’s decision to dismiss the charges without conviction. “I was not in a good place when this happened and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret,” he said. “I know it wasn’t OK and I’m sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.”
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