Even if you’re not a fan of Channel 9’s dramatic Married at First Sight (MAFS) saga, it’s hard to escape all the headlines.
This season has had everything, from ditched honeymoons to cheating scandals. The non-stop drama has resulted in sky-high ratings, with each episode pulling in around 1.2 million viewers.
As the show’s sixth season draws to a close this week, the incidents continue to escalate.
The tension between two fiery wives, Martha and Cyrell, came to a dramatic climax last night.
The conflict between the two resulted in Martha pouring a glass of red wine on Cyrell’s head. In response, Cyrell took the very mature approach of chasing Martha around the room to return the favour.
The whole ordeal was an everyday situation involving ordinary people, obviously.
But ratings aside, these acts could quite seriously amount to an offence of assault. The unlawful infliction of violence is a criminal offence.
In NSW common assault is an offence under section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900. A person may be charged with common assault if they have intentionally or recklessly applied unlawful force to another person and/or have caused a person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence.
Conduct that may amount to a common assault includes:
- Threatening to cause harm to a person
- Kicking, punching or hitting a person
- Spitting on a person
In NSW the maximum penalty for common assault is 2 years imprisonment.
The incident at the dinner party
Martha’s actions could clearly be characterised as common assault unless she was acting in self-defence, or there was evidence to suggest that Cyrell had consented to the act.
When a defendant raises an argument of self-defence, the prosecution must prove that the conduct in question was not performed in self-defence. While Cyrell did appear to be baiting Martha, provocation will not justify a finding of self-defence. Martha would not be able to escape liability based on an argument of self-defence.
Hypothetically, if Martha and Cyrell were part of a show that employed actors and had producers in their ears encouraging them to perform outrageous acts in the hope of securing headlines, then it is quite possible that Martha could escape liability by arguing that Cyrell had consented to her conduct.
Of course, we are definitely not suggesting that this is the case because MAFS is a reality television program that casts ordinary people who are genuinely looking for love. Obviously.
Last night’s event was not an isolated incident. Earlier in the season, a producer had to intervene when Cyrell launched herself at Martha during a heated argument.
Another controversial incident from earlier in the season involved a husband (Dino) secretly recording a private conversation that his wife (Mel) was having with her sister. In NSW, it is illegal to record a conversation unless you have the person’s permission, or the recording is in protection of your legal rights or in the public interest.
“Entertainment” is not a defence in criminal proceedings.
While it’s unlikely that charges will be brought against Martha, we would advise against pouring wine on someone’s head, no matter how excited/frustrated/angry you become during tonight’s MAFS season finale.
If you need advice or representation for a criminal matter please contact Hamilton Janke Lawyers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 4038 1666