The ex-girlfriend of Olympian Harry Garside has pleaded not guilty to alleged domestic violence against the boxer, as her lawyer claimed Garside had “made admissions” to spitting at her and was reprimanded by the magistrate for making statements in court.

Fitness trainer Ashley Alsione Ruscoe, 34, was arrested and charged last week over an alleged domestic violence incident at a Bellevue Hill home, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, on March 1.

The move by police came after they dropped a charge of common assault against 25-year-old Garside last month, related to the same incident. Garside’s lawyers had presented further material to officers and claimed a video showed Ruscoe was the “aggressor”.

Ruscoe was taken to Waverley police station on July 12 and charged with domestic violence-related common assault and stalking or intimidating, intending to cause fear of physical or mental harm.

Court documents allege Ruscoe intimidated and assaulted Garside between 12.15pm and 12.20pm on March 1. Garside’s charge had related to alleged conduct between 4pm and 7pm.

Ruscoe appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, wearing a bright blue suit and flanked by lawyers Bryan Wrench and Sophie Newham.

Wrench told magistrate Jennifer Atkinson the case had a “troubling history”, noting his client had previously been the alleged victim, and said she had been charged “completely surprisingly”.

He said they were seeking part of the brief of evidence and “requiring the police to find out why they’ve decided to charge her”.

Atkinson said she “can’t get into that” and they could go directly to police, but if they wanted access to the brief there needed to be pleas entered, to which Wrench replied there were “certainly pleas of not guilty”.

Wrench claimed Garside had made a statement to police “only after he discovered that other people” were coming forward to Ruscoe.

“That’s what we are very concerned about today, the motivation of Mr Garside,” Wrench said.

Wrench claimed “so-called videos … do not clear his [Garside’s] name”, to which Atkinson stopped him and said “it’s not for statements in court”.

She said she would set the matter down for hearing and asked about the number of witnesses. Wrench said there would be witnesses called on the defence case “to discredit the complainant including tendency witnesses to show he has a history of DV”.

The magistrate again stopped Wrench and said, “this is not the forum for it”.

She listed the case for mention on August 30 and asked if there were any other matters.

Wrench claimed Garside, in his statement, had “made admissions to spitting at” Ruscoe and inquired whether the police prosecutor could clarify “whether the charge withdrawn will now be reconsidered”.

He described the situation as “so unusual”.

The magistrate, who said it was “not the forum to negotiate with police”, again said, “Mr Wrench, I am stopping you”.

“I treat you the same as I treat everyone else, there is no need to put it on the record,” Atkinson said.

“You’ve had an undertaking given by the prosecutor and if there’s a difficulty down the track, I’ll deal with it. It is not the place to do it today.”

Ruscoe’s bail condition of reporting to police was deleted by consent. Police have also applied for an apprehended violence order against Ruscoe for the protection of Garside.

Ruscoe has more than 26,000 followers on Instagram, and runs fitness classes in the eastern suburbs under the company name Hit Like A Girl. She describes herself as a wellness coach and qualified breath work instructor.

“Each session combines learning the basics of boxing with breath work and meditation, strengthening ourselves from the inside, out,” Ruscoe’s business website states.

Garside’s prominence grew after the lightweight boxer won gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 and then claimed bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, held in 2021.

Garside gave interviews at the time about his idiosyncrasies including practising ballet for strength and challenging gender stereotypes by occasionally painting his nails and wearing skirts and dresses.

The since-withdrawn charge was laid against Garside on May 2. He was arrested at Sydney International Airport as he returned from South Africa, where he was runner-up on Network 10’s ninth season of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

When the charge was dropped against him on June 7, Garside said he was “vindicated” and the outcome was “finally just a big weight off the shoulders”.

He said he was now focused on qualifying for the Olympic Games next year in Paris.

Garside’s lawyers were contacted on Wednesday but declined to comment.

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