Two years ago in an incident that left us all feeling a little less fond of our country and its inhabitants, a man – a 36 year-old man at that – unleashed a tirade of horrific sexual and racial verbal abuse on a late night bus aimed at 22 year-old French tourist, Fanny Desaintjores.
Her crime? Singing joyously in her native tongue. A fellow passenger captured the tirade on video, and the ensuing online post went viral, racking up over 4 million views to date. Yesterday, in a legal ruling citing the (decidedly not legally binding) Eric Bana precedent of “Great Ders of History,” Melbourne Magistrate Jennifer Goldbrough, deciding that that kind of behaviour has absolutely no place in a civilised society, sentenced the offender, David Robert Graham, to 21 days behind bars for the attack, which she ruled comprised of “overwhelmingly misogynistic and sexist remarks (that were) occasionally racist.” Graham had previously pleaded guilty to the attack on the charges of making a threat to inflict serious injury and behaving in an insulting manner in public.
In addition, 25 year-old Hayden Stirling Stewart – who also took part in the abuse – was handed a community corrections order and sentenced to time already served, having spent 63 days on remand for a range of other offences. Magistrate Goldbrough noted that Stewart played a lesser role in the offense, and that it was Graham who was the main offender.
Mr Graham’s defence council posited that whilst his behaviour was admittedly unlawful, he cited, among other things, a train cancellation and the hot weather as influencing factors for the attack. Had this defence proven successful, it would theoretically excuse anyone attempting to take the Upfield line from any legal responsibility throughout the entire month of January each year.
Ms Desaintjores, for her part, did not blame Australia as a whole, commenting on the original video stating, “We found idiots everywhere, even in France.”
Too right, Fanny. Too bloody right.