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IBF, WBC boxing great Jeff Fenech’s fight to conceal brother’s sex charges and save his movie deals

Boxing great Jeff Fenech waged a fight up to the state’s highest court to keep secret his brother’s sex charges over a 13-year-old boy, arguing disclosure would ruin his TV career, movie and book deals.

In an extraordinary court document which could not be publicly revealed until now, Australia’s greatest boxing champion claims details of sex allegations against his brother Paul Fenech might make TV networks, Foxtel, and two movie and documentary makers drop him.

In the affidavit tendered to the NSW Supreme Court, Jeff Fenech names Australian boxers he trains who compete ‘worldwide’, details how his fights are broadcast ‘across Australia’ and says several movies are ‘currently being made’ about him.

The boxing great fought in three different courts over four months to support the action to suppress the details of the allegations against older brother Paul, which include one count of buggery, four of indecent assault on a male, and three of detain for advantage.

As the final suppression order over the case has been lifted at 5pm on Monday November 7, Daily Mail Australia can reveal the lengths Jeff Fenech went to keep hidden from public the charges laid by police in February.

Daily Mail Australia fought the suppression order in the Newtown Local Court in August, in the NSW Supreme Court in September and in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in October, finally winning in the third round in the CCA in November.

Jeff Fenech’s affidavit was among submissions considered last month at a hearing by three judges of the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA), justices Robert Macfarlan, Richard Button and Helen Wilson.

Paul Fenech fought to keep the sex charges laid against his older brother over a boy, 13, secret claiming they would do 'irreparable' harm to his reputation and lose him book, Tv and movie deals

Paul Fenech fought to keep the sex charges laid against his older brother over a boy, 13, secret claiming they would do ‘irreparable’ harm to his reputation and lose him book, Tv and movie deals

The boxer's older brother, Paul Fenech (above) was granted bail in August, after being charged earlier this year with historical sex offences against a young man

The boxer’s older brother, Paul Fenech (above) was granted bail in August, after being charged earlier this year with historical sex offences against a young man

Jeff Fenech, above fighting Azumah Nelson in Las Vegas in 1991, cited his stellar career in the ring and since, on Fox Sports and in Celebrity Apprentice and more recent movies being made about his life which could be jeopardised

Jeff Fenech, above fighting Azumah Nelson in Las Vegas in 1991, cited his stellar career in the ring and since, on Fox Sports and in Celebrity Apprentice and more recent movies being made about his life which could be jeopardised

In Jeff Fenech’s last ditch bid in support of an emergency non-publication order (NPO) imposed in Newtown Local Court in August, the boxer argued publication of his brother’s charges would mean ‘my reputation will suffer irreparable harm’.

The document opens with the details of his stellar boxing career, as IBF Champion from 1985 to 1987, holding the WBC super-bantamweight title from 1987 to 1988, and the WBC featherweight title from 1988 to 1990.

Known affectionately in the boxing ring as ‘the Marrickville Mauler’ with the trademark saying of ‘I love youse all’, Fenech includes his representing Australia at the World Boxing Championships in Rome and Commonwealth Championships in Belfast, both in 1983, and at the 1984 Oceanic Championships.

The affidavit details how he has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame , the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame. 

Jeff (above with wife Suzee) said publication of proceedings against his brother on sex allegations regarding a 13-year-old boy could cause 'irreparable harm ... to me, my family and boxers that I currently train'.

Jeff (above with wife Suzee) said publication of proceedings against his brother on sex allegations regarding a 13-year-old boy could cause ‘irreparable harm … to me, my family and boxers that I currently train’.

Jeff Fenech's affidavit to the court claims that the police charges against brother Paul could cost him book sales, movie deals and his job 'commentating on important boxing bouts'

Jeff Fenech’s affidavit to the court claims that the police charges against brother Paul could cost him book sales, movie deals and his job ‘commentating on important boxing bouts’

Paul Fenech (above at his inner western Sydney home), the older brother of boxing legend Jeff Fenech  is on bail on charges of indecent assault, buggery and detain  for advantage against a young man

Paul Fenech (above at his inner western Sydney home), the older brother of boxing legend Jeff Fenech  is on bail on charges of indecent assault, buggery and detain  for advantage against a young man

 It says that, ‘publication of these proceedings will mean that I may not be asked to provide my commenting services, as television networks may not wish to associate with me.

‘This may further mean that my producers of documentary and movie may cancel their project involving me (and) is likely to impact the sales of my books.

‘There would be irreparable harm caused to me, my family and boxers that I currently train.

‘I am regularly called to commentate on important boxing bouts occurring in Australia … for Fox Sports.

‘I am currently the subject of a documentary which is due to be televised in upcoming years. I am also the subject of movies currently being made.

‘I have been involved in many television shows, most notably the Celebrity Apprentice.’

Jeff Fenech, 58, the boxing great known as the 'Marrickville Mauler', was yet to reach fame as a champion boxer when his brother Paul allegedly sexually assaulted a boy, 13, but he said his career would be harmed beyond repair by the allegations

Jeff Fenech, 58, the boxing great known as the ‘Marrickville Mauler’, was yet to reach fame as a champion boxer when his brother Paul allegedly sexually assaulted a boy, 13, but he said his career would be harmed beyond repair by the allegations

Jeff Fenech's affidavit cites Hassan Hamdan (above) as one of the boxers he trains who might be impacted

Jeff told the court the charges against his brother could have a 'flow-on' effect to boxers like Brock Jarvis

Jeff Fenech’s affidavit cites boxers Hassan Hamdan (left) and Brock Jarvis (right) as among those whose reputations would be impacted by the allegations against the champion’s brother 

Jeff Fenech also specified his ‘important’ charity working raising ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’  and the impact he believed revealing his brother’s charges would have on ‘the reputation of the boxers I train’.

He named two of them in the document, super lightweight Brock Jarvis and welterweight Hassan Hamdan, the son of super middleweight campion Nader.

He said they competed ‘worldwide’ in fights ‘broadcasted across Australia’ and that his name is used to market the bouts.

‘I am regularly called to commentate on important boxing bouts occurring in Australia,’  Fenech’s affidavit said.

In September, a suppression order application before the Supreme Court’s Justice Nicholas Chen failed, but an almost immediate appeal against Justice Chen’s lifting of the non-publication order effectively kept the legal muzzle in place.

The appeal before the three CCA judges was set down in October, at a hearing in which Jeff Fenech was represented by solicitor Andrew Stewart and Paul Fenech by barrister Greg Scragg.

The court heard that there were endless cases which garnered more publicity because they involved a famous person such as a sports star, or the relative of a famous person.

Enjoying a cigarette at his Sydney home, Paul Fenech was keen to evade scrutiny after he breached parole for a meal of fish and chips, ten weeks ago as his famous brother embarked on a bid to keep both their names suppressed

Enjoying a cigarette at his Sydney home, Paul Fenech was keen to evade scrutiny after he breached parole for a meal of fish and chips, ten weeks ago as his famous brother embarked on a bid to keep both their names suppressed

Mr Scragg cited the case of Christopher Dawson, saying that like Paul Fenech, Dawson was the subject of charges dating back four decades.

(After worldwide publicity via The Teacher’s Pet podcast, Dawson went to a judge-only trial for the 1982 murder of his wife Lynette.  He was convicted in August).

Paul Godfrey Fenech, now aged 65, was charged with sexual assault against the male teenager dating back to 1980, when his younger brother was yet to reach fame as the triple world boxing division champion.

Jeff’s older brother by seven years, Paul Fenech was granted bail by the NSW Supreme Court in August, and then re-arrested for breaching bail when he left his Marrickville house in Sydney’s inner west to buy fish and chips.  

World Boxing great Jeff Fenech (above with his wife Suzee) is regarded Australia's greatest champion and he fought for 10 weeks to keep his brother's charges suppressed because of the harmful flow-on effect he believed would ensue for his family and stable of boxers

World Boxing great Jeff Fenech (above with his wife Suzee) is regarded Australia’s greatest champion and he fought for 10 weeks to keep his brother’s charges suppressed because of the harmful flow-on effect he believed would ensue for his family and stable of boxers

During the bail application, the court heard that Paul Fenech had previous convictions for indecent assault offences. 

In the charges laid against him earlier this year, police allege that in 1980 when he was aged 23, Paul Fenech committed one act of buggery on the 13-year-old , one count each of threaten to injure person with intent, common assault and four charges of indecent assault on a male.

He has also been charged with one count of detain for advantage with causing injury and two of detain for advantage without causing injury. 

The complainant made a report about the historical allegations to the NSW Sex Crimes Squad in July 2020. 

Paul Fenech was re-arrested a week after his release from prison on Supreme Court bail for breaching the strict conditions which included a 24 hour curfew.

 He admitted in Newtown Local Court in August this year to leaving home to go out for fish and chips at Marrickville Seafood Outlet. 

Boxing great Jeff Fenech's brother Paul (above) was freed on bail in August after breaching his release conditions on charges of buggery and indecent assault of a boy

Boxing great Jeff Fenech’s brother Paul (above) was freed on bail in August after breaching his release conditions on charges of buggery and indecent assault of a boy

Paul Fenech's lawyer told the court his client had several serious health problems (above, getting bail in August)

Paul Fenech walked with a pronounced limp in police custody but once released dashed swiftly up the road to avoid a media camera

Paul Fenech walked with a pronounced limp in police custody but once released (left) dashed swiftly (right) up the road to avoid a media camera

Police allege Fenech, the second eldest of his and Jeff’s Maltese Australian parents Paul Snr and Mary’s six children, committed the offences overnight in October 1980, in western Sydney. 

Newtown Local Court heard during a failed detention application by prosecutors that the sex offence allegations emerged during a 2018 psychiatric therapy session of the alleged male victim. 

Fenech appeared in Newtown Court on August 22 via AVL from the nearby police station looking dishevelled, and claiming he had serious health problems.

His lawyer Adam Ly told the court Fenech’s bail conditions had not been explained to him when applying for release a week previously in the NSW Supreme Court.

With Daily Mail Australia was in the court, Mr Ly applied for an urgent interim suppression order from  Magistrate Valerie Swain, which DMA argued against but it was granted.

In early September, lawyers sought an NPO over Jeff Fenech’s name arguing that the boxer would suffer undue embarrassment or distress arising from the association with his brother.

Jeff Fenech, above with his world championship WBC title belt , was super-bantamweight title from 1987 to 1988, and the WBC featherweight title holder from 1988 to 1990

Jeff Fenech, above with his world championship WBC title belt , was super-bantamweight title from 1987 to 1988, and the WBC featherweight title holder from 1988 to 1990

When Justice Chen the application, it was up to those lawyers to take all necessary steps to have the local court interim suppression order discharged or revoked ‘as a matter of urgency’. 

However, the Fenech brothers’ appeal to the higher court meant that, ten weeks later, the suppression order has only just been dissolved and a further restriction on publishing Jeff Fenech’s and other submissions lifted only on the afternoon of Monday, November 7 . 

 Bald with wisps of white hair and wearing glasses, Fenech now looks many more years older than his 58-year-old boxing star brother. 

The court heard he suffers from diabetes and early onset kidney failure and during the hearing he limped in and out of the AVL room.

However, after winning release, Fenech ran swiftly up the street to evade the media, and was subsequently seen dashing into his house.

The Fenech brothers’ father, also Paul Fenech, died in 1988 after years of ill-health.

Since retiring from boxing, Jeff Fenech has worked as a boxing commentator for Fox Sports.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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