A top Venezuelan skier and world-record holder who punched the landlord of his home country’s embassy in Canberra has been handed a good behaviour order over the assault.
The dispute arose due to growing tensions between embassy staff and the building’s landlord, who chose to blockade entrances to the embassy with vehicles as the spat intensified.
During the blockade, Cesar Baena, 30, got into an altercation with the landlord.
Baena, a champion skier, said he had struck out after being taunted, and the night before the incident the wife of the landlord had driven past and said “bad words” to him.
He then told the court the landlord had refused to move the vehicles, telling Baena he would not be getting what he wanted.
“The way he told me was very provocative,” Baena said.
He also told the court he had felt the man had shown disrespect for his country.
In court today, Baena told the court if he had a conviction against his name his international skiing career would be over, as it would limit his ability to travel.
Magistrate Peter Morrison handed him an 18-month good behaviour order, but did not record a conviction.
Outside court, Baena apologised for his actions.
“It’s not something to be done as a public figure and I do accept that it was wrong,” he said.
“I think we have another chance to do the right thing and inspire communities.
“I would like to say sorry … I’m very sorry for what I did, it’s not the way I am.”
Baena was in Australia at the time for ski races and training during the winter months.
He said another reason he was in Australia was the opportunity to practise roller skiing, an activity for which he had been a Guinness Book of Records holder.