Melbourne, Aug 17: An Indian student was today handed down a jail term of two-and-a-half years by an Australian court, which found him guilty of recklessly causing serious injuries to a group of compatriots during a road rage attack.
25-year-old Gurdeep Singh Mann, who lives in Victoria, will have to serve at least 18 months of his two-and-a-half-year sentence before he becomes eligible for parole. He is expected to face deportation after serving the prison term, local media reported.
Mann was driving near Glenhuntly Road in Melbourne's south in June 2009 when he narrowly missed hitting three pedestrians who were also his fellow countrymen, the Victorian County Court heard.
He drove in front of the men and stopped a short distance away when he heard them hurling abuse in his native language, Judge Frank Gucciardo was quoted as saying. Mann and his passenger got out of the car to confront the men and the group began exchanging insults, pushing, shoving and punching each other, Judge Gucciardo said. Mann's friend, a hospitality student, grabbed one of his cooking knives from the car and started slashing at two of the men.
After the jury found Mann guilty on two counts of recklessly causing serious injury, he was sentenced to two-and -a-half years' jail term and ordered that he serve 18 months before becoming eligible for parole.
Mann would probably be deported on his release because of his criminal record.
During the trial, Mann was accused of calling out to his friend to get the knife out of the car to help him subdue one of the pedestrians, but Judge Gucciardo said it was uncertain whether or not this happened.
But he said he was convinced that Mann was clearly acting in concert with his passenger and knew he was armed. Gucciardo said the fact that the pedestrians may have verbally abused Mann did not justify the knife attack. “It's use was completely unjustifiable,” Gucciardo said.
He said the courts must denounce the use of knives in “gratuitous violence”, which was becoming all too prevalent.
“This appeared to be unpremeditated, spontaneous, though foolish behaviour,” he said.
The two victims of the attack suffered stab wounds, cuts and abrasions, the judge said.
He said Mann was only slightly less culpable than his passenger, who was jailed for 10 months after pleading guilty, but was not entitled to the same sentencing discount because he pleaded not guilty and faced a trial. PTI