What a disgrace! A vicious and cowardly attack that could and should have earned 20 years jail gets only a slap on the wrist

One can only hope that the sentence will be appealed

A man who carried out an attack on an Indian student that caused outrage in Melbourne and India has been spared a jail term today. Judge Meryl Sexton told Shayne Casey Comensoli, 20 his random attack on Indian student Lucky Singh was "quite outrageous" but there was insufficient evidence to conclude it was a "race hate crime".

Sentencing Comensoli the judge said he accepted the victim's account that as he and another man bashed Mr Singh unconscious he called him an "Indian dog" and said "shut up you Indian motherf-----, shut up".

"This attack occurred during a spate of reported offences of violence against men of Indian ethnicity in the western suburbs of Melbourne," Judge Sexton said. "I am satisfied that at the point in time when you were attacking Mr Singh you hated him.

"However it is difficult to be satisfied to the same degree that your offence was wholly or partially motivated by hatred for Indian people in general."

The judge rejected a prosecution argument that Comensoli should be sent to an adult jail and instead ordered he be detained in a youth justice centre for three years. [How come? Anyone over 18 is legally an adult. This guy is 20] But under the youth justice system an offender can be released at any time from the date of sentence.

Judge Sexton said Mr Singh, 23, was set upon at a phone box in Sunshine in October last year by Comensoli and co-accused Lennon Metaxas. Mr Singh was hit 15-20 times to the head and face, and kneed, and as he lay unconscious his attackers searched his clothing and stole a wallet containing $80. Mr Singh suffered fractures to his cheekbone and nose, severe swelling and bruising, and required reconstructive surgery.

Comensoli, formerly of Sunshine, pleaded guilty in the County Court to intentionally causing serious injury, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail and robbery which carries a 15-year maximum. At an earlier hearing Metaxas, 20, was also sent to a youth detention centre for three years.

The judge said in his victim impact statement Mr Singh told of the devastating effects of the bashing. He suffered nightmares, was afraid to go out at night or use public transport and moved house twice.

"The effects of your attack have been felt not just by him, but by his friends, who are foreign students and his family in India," Judge Sexton said. "He says that he thought people in Australia were friendly and welcoming but since his assault his perception has changed."

The judge said Comensoli felt ashamed about his racist comments because he played cricket with a number of men from Sri Lanka and India. "Perhaps if you are faced with such a situation again , you will picture the faces of those men whom you count as friends and think how it would be to savagely beat them as you did Mr Singh," she said.


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