Dan Wyllie: Stunning photos were 'fatal flaw' in police case

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Dan Wyllie: Stunning photos were 'fatal flaw' in police case

A series of selfies showing yoghurt dripping down the face of high-profile Australian actor Dan Wyllie were used to expose a 'fatal flaw' in his wi

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A series of selfies showing yoghurt dripping down the face of high-profile Australian actor Dan Wyllie were used to expose a ‘fatal flaw’ in his wife’s claims he assaulted her.  

The photos, obtained by Daily Mail Australia, were among evidence that led the Offspring actor, 50, of being cleared of claims that he bashed director Shannon Murphy at their Woollahra home last year. 

Ms Murphy had admitted tipping her dessert of yoghurt mixed with flax seeds on top of Wyllie on March 21 last year, after he refused to watch a movie with her at home after drinks with neighbours.

She then claimed that Wyllie had assaulted her – a Sydney court hearing allegations he pushed her into the hallway, repeatedly punched her and forcing her against the ground so hard she feared her jaw was ‘going to snap’. 

But Wyllie’s barrister Peggy Dwyer argued in closing submissions on Tuesday that Ms Murphy had made out the assault to be ‘one continuous event’ and had neglected to mention the actor had paused to shoot pictures and video of himself splattered in yoghurt.

‘She’s been caught out directly in what could only be a bald lie,’ Ms Dwyer told Magistrate Greg Elks.

The court heard actor Dan Wyllie took this selfie with his face covered with Ms Murphy's yoghurt and flax seeds after she tipped it over his head on March 21, 2020

The court heard actor Dan Wyllie took this selfie with his face covered with Ms Murphy’s yoghurt and flax seeds after she tipped it over his head on March 21, 2020

A second selfie image showed the yoghurt dessert splattered over his T-shirt

A second selfie image showed the yoghurt dessert splattered over his T-shirt

Charges dismissed: Australian actor Dan Wyllie (left) was found not guilty of assaulting his wife and the mother of his child, director Shannon Murphy (right), on March 21, 2020

Charges dismissed: Australian actor Dan Wyllie (left) was found not guilty of assaulting his wife and the mother of his child, director Shannon Murphy (right), on March 21, 2020 

Ms Murphy had claimed, according to Ms Dwyer, that she ‘instantly regretted’ pouring the yoghurt on him, that Wyllie was furious, that she demanded to see his phone and then he pushed her across the hall and began assaulting her.   

But the alleged failure to mention the pause was a ‘significant omission’ in Ms Murphy’s recount of what happened, she argued. There was ‘no explanation’ of how the photos of short clip came about in Ms Murphy’s seven statements, Ms Dwyer said.

‘(Wyllie) takes a video of himself still covered in yoghurt, having wiped it from his eye,’ Ms Dwyer recalled.

She described him as calm and frustrated, but not flying into a rage, and noted that the photos’ metadata showed when they were taken. 

‘Ms Murphy was not able to offer an explanation for how that happened and it’s a fatal flaw in the prosecution case, a fatal flaw in her credibility.’ 

Wyllie had always denied the assault charge, telling a police investigator he had acted only in self defence to restrain her and prevent Ms Murphy from hurting herself. 

A magistrate dismissed the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Tuesday, saying he couldn't find it beyond reasonable doubt, and saying Dan Wyllie's wife was 'less than honest' about what happened. Wyllie was on crutches this week

A magistrate dismissed the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Tuesday, saying he couldn’t find it beyond reasonable doubt, and saying Dan Wyllie’s wife was ‘less than honest’ about what happened. Wyllie was on crutches this week

The police prosecutor told the court that the inconsistences in Ms Murphy account were ‘minor’ and argued she was a truthful witness. 

But Magistrate Elks said Ms Murphy was ‘less than honest’ about what happened that night and noted she was the original aggressor. 

‘I form the view that she was being less than honest with the court in relation to what truly occurred,’ the magistrate said.

Magistrate Elks recounted Ms Murphy’s version of events. She had claimed the couple enjoyed drinks with neighbours that night before heading back to their Woollahra flat.  

Wyllie then went to the spare room and refused to watch a movie with Ms Murphy, who then went into the kitchen to get yoghurt for dessert, Magistrate Greg Elks recalled. 

But then ‘(Ms Murphy) admitted to tipping the yoghurt with flaxeed over his head,’ the judge said in his decision.  

Ms Murphy claimed that Wyllie was furious about the yoghurt attack, told her ‘it’s over, you f***ing b***h’, and stormed into the bathroom, according to the magistrate’s summary of her claims. 

Ms Murphy alleged that she then went to reach for Wyllie’s phone to see what he had been looking at in the room. She then claimed that Wyllie threw her into the hallway. 

Ms Murphy alleged that Wyllie pinned her against the wall, with an artwork behind her falling to the ground.

She then claimed he had hit her from behind and rained up to 10 blows down on her.

At one point, she claimed to briefly black out. At another, she claimed her head was pushed to the floor so hard she felt her jaw was ‘going to snap’, the magistrate said.  

But Wyllie – who the court heard lost work due to the charges – always denied his wife’s version of events, saying he had acted only in self-defence when first contacted by police, the court heard.  

Actress Toni Collette was dragged into the case, according to submissions before the court (above on Monday), and spoke to Wyllie's character

Actress Toni Collette was dragged into the case, according to submissions before the court (above on Monday), and spoke to Wyllie’s character

The police prosecutor described Ms Murphy as an ‘honest’ witness who ‘gave an open and frank concession’ to the court about striking Wyllie with the phone. 

‘She wasn’t proud of her actions, she acknowledges she was the instigator,’ he said.  

However, the magistrate had a different characterisation of what sort of witness she was. 

Mr Elks described Ms Murphy ‘as an evasive witness who was prone to not answering questions that were asked’, instead giving lengthy answers that portrayed her in a better light. 

‘She was not an impressive witness and I formed the opinion she had tailored her evidence to suit a scenario in which she had been the original aggressor,’ the magistrate said. 

In his decision, Magistrate Elks said he was also ‘unsettled’ by a revelation that Ms Murphy had told police at one point what she told them earlier wasn’t true. 

‘A lie is a lie and that does cast a great pall over the complainant’s evidence,’ the magistrate said. 

The magistrate said a 'great pall' had been cast over Ms Murphy's evidence by 'a lie' she had told police

The magistrate said a ‘great pall’ had been cast over Ms Murphy’s evidence by ‘a lie’ she had told police

The magistrate added each police officer who saw her following the incident recorded that they had seen no visible injuries to Ms Murphy, including to her jaw, which she had feared would ‘snap,’ he said. 

‘The raining down of 10 blows by the defendant would have resulted, in my view, in significant injury. Clearly in the photographs there is not significant injury,’ the magistrate found. 

Actress Toni Colette was event dragged into the proceedings, claiming Ms Murphy felt she had to ‘denigrate’ her, as Ms Dwyer claimed Ms Murphy had also done with another witness who felt a lump on the back of Wyllie’s head.

Ms Dwyer said that Ms Murphy had suggested she had been bullied by the Academy Award nominated actress. 

‘Ms Collette had nothing against Shannon (Murphy), nothing about Shannon she had a problem with,’ Ms Dwyer said. 

The assault occasioning actual bodily harm charge was dismissed, as was an application for an apprehended violence order and a back-up charge.

Dan Wyllie and Shannon Murphy:  Australian film royalty

Award winning: Wyllie (right) won a Silver Logie in 2004 for his role in Foxtel's Love My Way. Pictured from left to right with co-stars Brendan Cowell, Ben Mendelsohn, Claudia Karvan and Asher Keddie

Award winning: Wyllie (right) won a Silver Logie in 2004 for his role in Foxtel’s Love My Way. Pictured from left to right with co-stars Brendan Cowell, Ben Mendelsohn, Claudia Karvan and Asher Keddie

Dan Wyllie is ubiquitous in Australian drama, having starred in shows ranging from A Country Practice to Offspring, Underbelly, Rake, Secret City and Puberty Blues and movies including Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner. He won the Silver Logie in 2004. 

Wyllie has been married to film director Shannon Murphy since 2014. She has worked for the Sydney Threatre Company. The couple have one daughter together and, until this incident, lived together in Woollahra, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. 

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