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Mel Gibson to serve three years' probation

12 march 2011, 10:07
Mel Gibson was ordered to do 16 hours of community service, pursue domestic violence counseling and serve three years' probation, in a deal Friday to end a row over alleged abuse of his ex-partner, AFP reports.

The embattled US actor pleaded no contest in a Los Angeles court to a charge of battery against his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in return for a sentence that does not include jail time.

He was ordered to undergo a one-year domestic violence counseling program, which he began in January, do community service with a children's care group, and pay a $400 fine in the plea bargain to end the dispute.

"I have a good grasp of everything my attorney has discussed with me," Gibson -- wearing an open-necked shirt and jacket for the afternoon court hearing -- told the judge when asked if he understood his plea.

Police launched an investigation into the Australian-educated actor after Grigorieva, a Russian musician, released recordings of expletive-ridden abusive telephone calls he allegedly made.

He was also accused of beating her in a January 2010 incident at his Malibu home, which came as they were locked in a bitter custody battle over their daughter, born in October 2009.

Gibson's lawyer Blair Berk said in a statement: "Mel's priority throughout all of this has been that the best interests of his young daughter, Lucia, and the rest of his children be put first in any decisions made.

"It is with only that in mind that he asked me to approach the district attorney with a proposal that would bring all of this to an immediate end," he added.

Gibson's career has struggled since his 2006 arrest for drunk driving, which exploded into a major scandal because of anti-Semitic remarks he made to a highway patrol officer.

In that case, he was sentenced to three years' probation and fined $1,300, after undergoing alcohol rehabilitation.

The actor won two Oscars for his acting and directing of the 1995 drama "Braveheart" -- which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and took home five -- but he has struggled to revive his career following his legal woes.

The fallen star has had to dig into the fortune he has amassed from such blockbusters as "The Passion of the Christ," his 2004 film with a 30-million-dollar budget that took 600 million dollars in worldwide revenue.

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