Brett Stewart is currently on trial on sexual assault charges. I haven’t read a lot about the case and I don’t have a firm opinion his guilt or otherwise as will be determined by the court. What I do have a firm opinion on is the ‘character references’ that are allowed to be given in evidence. I’m sure there is a good reason why they are allowed (see response from Jo in comments) but I have to admit that they annoy me no end. Good on BS for giving lots of time to charity, responding personally to fan letters, and generally being a nice bloke to be around. That’s great. But it does not mean that he is somehow incapable of the sexual assault he stands accused of. I understand that his friends don’t want to believe him capable – I wouldn’t want to believe it of anyone I know either. But that doesn’t make him immune from carrying out that action. No one is more surprised than the neighbours when their erstwhile neighbour turns out to be a serial killer/rapist/burglar because they all think that person was so quiet and pleasant and kept to themselves. We all have a public face. I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened, but just because someone is a nice guy with standing in the community/occassionally on TV doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened.
ETA: Jo Tamar at Wallaby