A former KPMG partner admits he used a corkscrew to assault a Liberal volunteer, called him "a pedophile supporter" and tore down election posters in Tony Abbott's former electorate.
Steven Economides on Thursday pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault after his attempt to have the matter dismissed on mental health grounds was rejected in Manly Local Court.
Magistrate Mark Richardson convicted the 62-year-old and placed him on a 12-month good-behaviour bond for the "politically motivated assault" on two men helping on Mr Abbott's unsuccessful campaign for re-election.
Jonathan Malota, the local Liberal branch president, and Rafe Harrison-Murray were erecting posters on the fence of a polling booth on the evening before the May 18 federal election when Economides yelled "take those signs down or I will stab you".
Economides punched Mr Malota in the stomach while holding the corkscrew, causing a small red mark. He then tore down the banners with the explanation that "it's my democratic right".
He also said Mr Malota was "a pedophile supporter" and wasn't welcome in the area.
"I live on this street and everyone on the street is a Zali (Steggall) supporter," Economides said, according to the agreed facts, referring to the independent candidate for Warringah who went on to defeat the former prime minister.
The court heard Mr Harrison-Murray "froze" believing he was going to be stabbed with a knife.
The experienced tax adviser, also known as Stavros Economides, no longer works at KPMG as a result of the incident.
His barrister, Slade Howell, argued Economides was mentally distressed at the time and the behaviour was out of character.
Mr Richardson agreed but refused to deal with the "unprovoked" attack on mental health grounds or spare the accused a conviction.
"In this day and age, there is an expectation that people who engage in actions bordering on violent in political matters will face the consequences of their actions in accordance of the law," he said.
"A brain snap ... had the effect of putting an end, in a way he didn't wish, to his career."
Outside court, Economides told reporters: "I'm deeply embarrassed by my actions."
KPMG once described Economides as an experienced tax partner and a leader in infrastructure and sovereign wealth fund tax in the Asia Pacific region.
His ex-wife, Lyn Nicholson, in a character assessment tendered to the court, described the assault as "totally unexpected and, to a significant extent, unbelievable".
"His demeanour is similar to that of an academic," oil and gas executive Terrence Fern said in a letter to the court.
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