- From: The Daily Telegraph
- January 28, 2011
JAMES Oatley tried his best to avoid any eye contact with the female pensioner he is alleged to have assaulted. The grandson of Wild Oats XI and Hamilton Island owner Bob Oatley sat nervously as he waited for his name to be called out at Manly Local Court yesterday morning.Sitting behind him was his alleged victim and "penguin protector" Johnyth Burton, 72.
After a brief appearance, Oatley left the court shadowed by a group of volunteer penguin wardens.
The Mosman resident is alleged to have assaulted Ms Burton on New Year's Day as she tried to protect Manly's endangered penguins.
The 28-year-old rushed past the media as he left the court with his father Ian.
"Of course I don't want to speak with you," he said.
It is believed police will allege that Oatley and a group of mates boarded Ozon, a boat skippered by Dustin Jeffery Burgess, on January 1.
The boat approached a beach on Manly Cove where Ms Burton and her friend Angelika Treichler stood about 9.15pm.
A dog allegedly jumped from the boat and rushed towards Ms Burton.
Seven penguins were killed by a dog in the area a few weeks before the incident.
When Ms Burton started taking photos of Oatley and his friends, he allegedly splashed water at her and then moved towards her, knocking her to the ground.
Ms Treichler said they would continue to protect the dwindling penguin population. "We will not stop helping these animals because it's very important. Our members are still shocked and Johnyth is still recovering," she said.
Burgess pleaded guilty to drink driving after recording a blood alcohol reading of 0.145 while in charge of a vessel.
The 27-year-old, who has previously been convicted of driving under the influence and disqualified for driving for three years, will be sentenced on Wednesday.
Oatley is due to return to court next Thursday.