Deputy PM’s former confidant charged with assault and harassment

In the past seven months the CEO of Scale Facilitation David Collard has had his business raided by the AFP over alleged tax fraud and then wound up for insolvency, faced lawsuits for unpaid wages and debts, and defaulted on the purchase of battery start up Britishvolt. Now he’s up on assault charges in the United States.

Sean Johnson29 January 2024

Richard Marles described David Collard at the opening of Scale Facilitation’s New York headquarters in December 2022 as a “force of nature…innately entrepreneurial…values driven”. Yeah, nah. Photo: Supplied.

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Failed entrepreneur and ex-PwC partner David Collard will face court next month in New York for allegedly assaulting and harassing a man and threatening to do the same to another person late last year.

Court records and information provided to Open Politics by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office show that a David Collard born 7 July 1984 was arrested in the early hours of 15 November 2023 on Madison Avenue for allegedly striking a man in the face with a closed fist, causing a “a laceration to the right side of the face and substantial pain.”

Company records with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) show the Scale Facilitation CEO was born 7 July 1984.  



Marles's message to Collard after drinks in London. First published in The Australian, which revealed they regularly dined out and talked on Signal. Marles refused our FOI for access to his many messages to Collard.


Charges

Collard was arraigned in the New York Criminal Court on 4 December on five charges:

  • assault in the third degree with intent to cause physical injury (main charge)
  • assault in the third degree - recklessly causing physical injury to another person
  • aggravated harassment in the second degree - injure family
  • attempted assault in the third degree with intent to cause physical injury
  • harassment in the second degree – physical contact.  

Collard plead not guilty and was released pending the trial hearing on 23 February at 9 am. The DA's office told us his defence counsel is legal aid lawyer Alyssa Myers.


Collard flew Opposition Leader Peter Dutton to the HQ opening. Dutton described Collard as “a superman" with “the ability to see around corners and over the horizon.” Well, he didn't see the AFP coming.

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Collard denies allegations

Collard said in a statement that, “it is disconcerting to discover that this private matter is slated for public exposure for commercial purposes.”

(Memo to Dave: Criminal charges are precisely not a private matter. It's how open justice works.)

He continued: “Nevertheless, the incident transpired as a consequence of my endeavors to ensure the safety of a friend and myself. I have entered a plea of not guilty, with full anticipation of an eventual dismissal.

“On the specified evening, I was contacted by a female friend experiencing harassment. Confronting the individual, an altercation ensued due to his aggressive behavior. In self-defense, I took appropriate measures. Subsequently, he contacted the police, necessitating my participation in the impending court proceedings.”



Richard Marles visited Collard’s US$75,000 a month apartment on Central Park on multiple occasions, with each visit requiring extensive security sweeps of the building. In July Collard was sued for not paying the rent.


Punishment

The fifth charge of harassment in the second degree is only a violation under the New York Penal Code, attracting a maximum penalty of 15 days imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250. It is a non-criminal offence.

The other four charges are a little more serious: Class A misdemeanours punishable by up to a year in jail.  

New York defence attorney Scott J Limmer says the court can impose non-custodial sentences for class A misdemeanours, including “probation, a fine, anger management, or community service.”

Regardless of the sentence, if Collard is found guilty he’ll end up with a criminal record.

That could be a problem for him because a foreign US resident who receives a criminal record is at risk of being deported or not allowed to re-enter after leaving voluntarily. It may also affect his employment prospects and ability to travel internationally.

23 February promises to be a big day.

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