A bondage photographer has been arrested over allegations he sexually abused two models he was working with in 2005 and 2011.
A bondage photographer has been arrested over allegations he sexually abused two models he was working with in 2005 and 2011.

Bondage photographer on assault charges

A Sydney-based bondage photographer has been refused bail after being charged with sexually assaulting two models during photo shoots six years apart.

Garth Knight was refused bail by Magistrate Robert Williams on Friday when he appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court.

Knight has been charged with sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated sex assault (deprive liberty) relating to two alleged incidents at a Surry Hills warehouse in 2005 and a home in Waterloo in 2011.

Photographer Garth Knight has been charged with sexually two models. Picture: Instagram/@garthknightart
Photographer Garth Knight has been charged with sexually two models. Picture: Instagram/@garthknightart

The 48-year-old appeared in court via audiovisual link from Surry Hills Police Station where he was being held following his arrest at a Redfern home on Friday morning.

His solicitor Phillip Ryan applied for him to be freed on bail, saying Knight had sexual contact with one of the complainants prior to the alleged incident.

Photographer Garth Knight is arrested on historical sexual assault allegations at a Redfern home. Picture: NSW Police
Photographer Garth Knight is arrested on historical sexual assault allegations at a Redfern home. Picture: NSW Police

Mr Ryan also said Knight had discussed engaging in sexual contact prior to the photo shoot with the second alleged victim.

However, Mr Williams ordered Knight to remain in custody despite the possibility of him remaining behind bars for an extended period of time as a result of delays in court proceedings as a result of COVID-19.

Photographer Garth Knight fronted court on Friday. Picture: Facebook
Photographer Garth Knight fronted court on Friday. Picture: Facebook

Mr Williams described the prosecution case as "strong" and noted that if found guilty, Knight was facing the possibility of a lengthy custodial sentence.

Police received the first allegation in May 2020 when a woman told police she had been sexually assaulted while working as a model at a Surry Hills warehouse in 2005 when she was 35.

Police received a second report from a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted during a photo shoot at a home in Waterloo in 2011 when she was 33.

The court heard police had obtained messages in which Mr Knight had allegedly apologised to one of the complainants about his conduct.

Photographer Garth Knight, who was arrested over historical sexual assault allegations. Picture: Facebook
Photographer Garth Knight, who was arrested over historical sexual assault allegations. Picture: Facebook

The court also heard both alleged victims were tied up at the time of the alleged assaults and unable to escape.

Knight's Instagram account, which has more than 16,000 followers, shows numerous examples of his work in which he suspends naked male and female models using ropes and other materials.

He has been described as being "trained in the tradition of Shibari rope tying" or Japanese erotic bondage.

Knight is arrested having been accused of sexually assaulting two models in two separate incidents. Picture: NSW Police.
Knight is arrested having been accused of sexually assaulting two models in two separate incidents. Picture: NSW Police.

In a 2013 interview he said: "Bondage is the practice of tying and restraining people, usually using rope.

"It is practised for many different reasons. It can induce meditative states, produce feelings of connection and closeness between people; it is used erotically for heightened awareness and intimacy and, in a sadomasochistic setting, for power play."

Detective Chief Inspector Rod Hart said on Friday that four detectives assigned to the case had worked "around the clock" since the allegations were made and were calling out to anyone else who may have been affected.

Knight’s Instagram account has thousands of followers. Picture: Facebook
Knight’s Instagram account has thousands of followers. Picture: Facebook

"The NSW Police Force take allegations of sexual assault very seriously," he said.

"We have updated resources and technology that we put into these situations … we will create strike forces.

"So I urge anyone in the community who has been a victim of sexual assault who feels as though they can't come forward to please come forward."

Detectives have launched Strike Force Nannawilli and will continue to investigate the allegations.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.   

Originally published as Bondage photographer on assault charges