Indian attacked for money in Oz phone booth

Indian attacked for money in Oz phone booth

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 AAP reported.

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 collect them. 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, tops".

Comensoli pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury and robbery, while Trifunovic pleaded guilty to aiding a robbery.

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 Trifunovic.

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.

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