A troubled young multi-millionaire has received a stern warning from a judge after a court found his life had “spiraled out of control” due to drug use.
Andrew Spira beamed himself into Waverley Magistrates Court via audio-visual link on Wednesday after pleading guilty to breaching conditions of a restraining order made by police to protect his ex-girlfriend.
The 24-year-old had been in a relationship with the woman, 16 years his senior, for more than six years when they split in December last year.
The court was told the couple owned an impressive property portfolio together, with records showing one of their homes in Sydney’s eastern suburbs was recently sold for $10 million.
A few months after the split, court documents show that police issued an arrest warrant to protect Spira’s ex-partner after he was charged with assaulting her.
Andrew Spira (above) was convicted of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend
The former couple owned a lucrative real estate portfolio together before splitting last year
The 24-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the common assault charge and will contest that charge in court next year.
Under the terms of the restraining order, he was banned from contacting his former partner other than through a lawyer.
Despite the ban, Spira admitted to calling her several times over the course of two months and even texting her roommate to tell her he missed her.
One of the ex-couple’s telephone conversations, overheard by a witness, lasted an hour and a half.
When the woman reminded Spira that he would “get in trouble” if he contacted her, he admitted he knew the terms of the order.
Spira told a psychologist that he felt “down” and didn’t think about the consequences of violating the restraining order when he contacted his ex-partner.
His lawyer Najee Makhoul said Spira had difficulty accepting the split because his former partner was the first person he bonded with.
The court heard that Spira (left) had suffered “deprivation and neglect” while living with his alcoholic mother (right) and her partners
The court heard the pair began dating when Spira was 17.
Mr Makhoul said his client suffered “deprivation and neglect” while living with his alcoholic mother and her partners.
Spira’s mother is Elizabeth “Lizzie” Buttrose, a former Sydney socialite and niece of media mogul Ita Buttrose.
When he was in his 20s, Spira reported taking 40 tablets of a prescription sedative daily, in addition to drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis.
The court heard he had completed several stints in rehabilitation centers after his life “spiraled out of control” due to substance abuse.
Judge Ross Hudson said Spira told psychologists he had used drugs as an “escape agent”.
He said the 24-year-old reported not having close relationships during his formative years.
Spira (above) reported taking 40 tablets of a prescription sedative daily in addition to drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine and cannabis
“(His former partner) was practically one of his most important relationships that he developed during that time in his life,” he said.
“Because of the support and the light in which he saw (her), he found it difficult to cut ties with her.”
The judge acknowledged that Spira had been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
Despite his difficulties, the court found that Spira was the founder of the successful business lending company Pineapple Funding, which had been making $4 million a year before his arrest.
Judge Hudson took into account the contractor’s “strong subjective case” when sentencing him for two breaches of an AVO and one breach of a conditional release order relating to a previous AVO breach.
Spira was sentenced to two sentences of 12 and 15 months for good behavior and was required to continue treatment for his mental health and drug and alcohol abuse.
Spira (above) was relieved that the matter had been resolved, his lawyer said, after he was sentenced to two sentences of 12 and 15 months for good behavior and ordered to continue treatment for his mental health and drug and alcohol abuse
Judge Hudson warned him not to contact his ex-partner again and said the court “will not be left toothless” if it finds another breach.
Although Spira kept an expressionless face throughout the sentencing, his lead lawyer, Samir Karnib, told NCA NewsWire he was relieved.
“He is grateful for today’s outcome and that these matters are now behind him,” he said.
“He continues to improve himself and other aspects of his life. “He is now determined to move on and move on from this.”