Newton in high-care US facility, fiery hearing told

Matthew Newton arrives at a Sydney court for one of his matters, in a file photo.
Matthew Newton arrives at a Sydney court for one of his matters, in a file photo.

Troubled actor Matthew Newton has been in a "high-care facility" in the US for the past three months in an attempt to "try to make a difference in his life", his lawyer has told a Sydney court.

In a brief but fiery court hearing in relation to Newtown's alleged assault of a taxi driver last year, his lawyer Chris Murphy said his client was receiving "intensive treatment ... 24-7".

Newton is accused of punching the taxi driver in the head in Crows Nest on Sydney's north shore on December 4 last year.

Mr Murphy told the Downing Centre Local Court that the 35-year-old had "embraced" the facility despite the fact that it had "harsh conditions" such as not having a telephone.

"He wants to be mentally well - he wants to be healthy," Mr Murphy said.

The former Underbelly star has battled serious mental health problems in recent years, including post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

Mr Murphy has claimed these issues are behind Newton's recent violent outbursts.

In April, Newton allegedly punched a receptionist in the face at an upmarket hotel in Miami.

This followed an incident at a Miami bar in the same month when he allegedly became drunk, refused to leave and then abused police when they tried to move him on.

Mr Murphy said that the charges of battery and resisting arrest that resulted from the US incidents meant that Newtown was "on a bail bond which prevents him from leaving the jurisdiction".

Newton was due to face a US court on these matters on July 25, Mr Murphy said, and required a lengthy adjournment of the Sydney taxi assault matter.

But when Downing Centre magistrate Jane Mottley suggested the matter return to court on August 8, Mr Murphy became angry, complaining that US matters would take much longer to resolve and that being dragged back to court was "a waste of court time and my client's time".

"I've got a man with mental illness being driven mad by this court," he said.

"[This case] has become a stalking horse for his destruction in the media ... Every time this case comes to court it brings more reports in the newspaper. He left Australia to get away from that."

But Ms Mottley held firm, ordering that the matter return on August 8 for Mr Murphy to update the court on the US proceedings as a "common courtesy".

This story Newton in high-care US facility, fiery hearing told first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.