Melbourne: A 23-year-old Indian student was
brutally attacked in a phone booth here by three assailants
who stole 80 dollars from his wallet after repeatedly punching
him on his head and face and leaving him unconscious, an
Australian court was told today.
The Victorian County Court heard that Aleksander
Trifunovic drove his two other friends Shayne Comensoli and
Lennon Metaxas around Melbourne`s west, looking for an Indian
person to rob on a night of last October.
The 20-year-old Comensoli and Metaxas, who had been
drinking at a local hotel, then spotted Indian student Lucky
Singh in a phone booth in Sunshine. The two got out of their
car and attacked him about 1.30 am (local time).
Prosecutor Amelia Macknay said the attack was due to the
perception that Indians are known for keeping cash with them.
Metaxas kept punching Singh repeatedly while the victim
screamed in pain and fear. Comensoli told the victim "`Shut
up, you Indian`...," and then said, "`now it`s my turn`".
The victim was hit up to 20 times on his head and face
and curled up on the ground covering his head with his arms,
the report said, adding the attackers then picked him up,
dumped him on a park bench and continued the attack.
Singh was left bleeding and unconscious on the footpath,
suffering bone fractures, severe swelling and bruising.
The pair stole 80 dollars in cash from his wallet and
split it among them, They then called for Trifunovic, 20, to
Singh was quoted as saying that the attack had shattered
his confidence and he suffered flashbacks. "I`m too scared to
walk at night," he said. "My life has completely changed. I
feel scared to go outside."
Singh said he had thought Australians were welcoming and
friendly but had changed his mind.
Police arrested the trio soon after the assault.
Trifunovic told police the pair had offered him USD 10
for his role but he refused the money. He said the trio had
driven around Sunshine looking for an Indian for "10 minutes,
Comensoli pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious
injury and robbery, while Trifunovic pleaded guilty to aiding
Defence barrister Ron Tait denied there was a racial
aspect to Trifunovic`s crime. He said the crime was shocking
but his client was still young with a clean record, and asked
that he be spared jail.
The crown called for jail terms for Comensoli and
County Court Judge Meryl Sexton said she would need to
consider what part racism played in the attack.
Comensoli`s pre-sentencing hearing was adjourned pending
a psychology and youth justice report.
Metaxas was sentenced in March to three years in a youth
justice centre, after pleading guilty to intentionally causing
serious injury and robbery.