Father of athlete has restraining order dismissed
The father of Australia's only female archery competitor at the London Olympics has had a restraining order against him dismissed after a judge ruled he did not attempt to intimidate his daughter's main rival during qualifying events.
Jonathan Barnard, father of Elisa Barnard, was accused of trying to put 18-year-old Odette Snazelle off her performance during several events in January and February. Snazelle took out an interim apprehended violence order against Barnard, preventing him from coming within 200 meters of her.
In Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Friday, Magistrate Lee Gilmour dismissed the application, saying she could not rule that Barnard's "intentions were to harass and/or intimidate" Snazelle. The judge added that she felt the dispute was "tit for tat" between two warring families.
Elisa Barnard, 19, was named by the Australian Olympic Committee on June 27 on the two-person team for London.
An AOC spokesman said Friday they would not comment on the decision.
Snazelle had claimed Barnard followed her around, positioned himself behind her as Snazelle shot and attended one competition where his daughter was not competing.
In evidence Friday, Barnard said his motivation for attending the event where his daughter was not competing was to scrutinize the "operation of qualifying events for the Olympic Games."
"I didn't believe there'd be any issue with me attending the event," Barnard told the court. "If I genuinely felt Odette was being intimidated in any way I wouldn't be there, because I don't believe in intimidation."
In his closing submissions, Barnard's lawyer Grant Butterfield said the accusations against his client amounted, at the worst, to "unsporting behavior."
He said the basis of the prosecution's application for an apprehended violence order was that Barnard went to the event on Feb. 19, despite having been told Snazelle had been uncomfortable with his presence two weeks earlier at another qualifying competition.
"That means no one should watch any sport if they happen to know a person involved in it," Butterfield said. "That is akin to a coach of a swimmer saying to another coach, 'You're making my guy feel uncomfortable. Please don't come.'"
The AOC said Barnard and 21-year-old Taylor Worth would be the country's two archers competing at London's Lord's cricket ground, venue for the Olympic event.
"It feels very surreal. It still hasn't sunk in yet that all my hard work over the years has finally paid off," the AOC quoted Barnard as saying when she was announced on the team.