Mirvac executive Brett Henson fights allegation he stole taxi while drunk
A high-flying real estate executive accused of stealing a taxi while drunk will claim in court he was assaulted and pursued by a cab driver through Sydney’s CBD.
Brett Henson, 42, fronted Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday charged with a range of driving offences, including stealing a motor vehicle and dangerous driving.
A prominent figure in the real estate market, Mr Henson was arrested late last year after photos of the incident were circulated by NSW Police in pursuit of the alleged culprit.
Police allege Mr Henson stole the silver taxi from Hunter St in Sydney’s CBD while intoxicated after threatening the driver shortly before 9pm on November 4, 2022.
A high-flying real estate executive accused of stealing a taxi while drunk will claim in court he was assaulted and pursued by a cab driver through Sydney’s CBD
Officers further allege that the Bronte resident drove dangerously before the vehicle later allegedly dumped several kilometres away in Woolhara with ‘significant damage’.
Lawyer Paul McGirr told the court Mr Henson was ‘under duress’, having allegedly been assaulted by ‘another party’ who was believed to be part of a group of cab drivers.
‘He (Mr Henson) was knocked around and injured, which police were made aware of,’ Mr McGirr said.
‘My client takes the particular cab and drives it, and appears to be followed by another taxi driver.
‘He leaves the scene and goes around the conservatorium, and ends up on the Eastern Distributor Freeway.
‘Importantly, he believed he was being followed (…) my client was under duress at the time.’
Mr McGirr revealed Mr Henson was allegedly told by one member of the group they were a police officer.
He told the court that interaction could explain why Mr Henson did not call triple-0 after the alleged attack.
In his opening submission, Mr McGirr said ID would ‘not be an issue’ in the case, while also relegating allegations to his intoxication to be a ‘side issue’.
Brett Henson, 42, fronted Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday charged with a range of driving offences, including stealing a motor vehicle and dangerous driving
Officers further allege that the Bronte resident drove dangerously before the vehicle later allegedly dumped several kilometres away in Woolhara with ‘significant damage’
The police prosecutor, Mr Philipson, told the court they would not be producing any form of pharmaceutical or toxicology report into Mr Henson’s alleged intoxication.
Mr Philipson played video to the court on Wednesday of the moments before the alleged taxi theft, beginning with Mr Henson leaving the Ivy restaurant on George St.
In the video, Mr Henson is seen opening the door to a taxi about 8.40pm on Hunter St before falling to the ground as the passenger-side door is flung open.
The driver of the cab, who will later give evidence, is seen leaving the driver-side and talking with Mr Henson outside the vehicle for a period of time.
Suddenly, Mr Henson is seen fleeing from the cab and running down a neighbouring alleyway with the driver seen pursuing him at a jog.
Further video will be played in court later in the afternoon, with witness evidence from the driver and the alleged pursuer who will appear over AVL from Pakistan.
Mr Henson was reportedly a Senior Capital Transactions Manager for property developing giant Mirvac at the time of the alleged offence, and owns a $3.3 million house in Bronte.
It is understood Mr Henson is no longer in that role.