A 41-year-old Indian man, who indecently assaulted women on trains after offering to read their palms, was on Monday sentenced to 21 months in jail by an Australian court.
Ajay Chopra assaulted three women and attempted to assault two others, all aged between 18 and 30, on a regional train service as they travelled between Bendigo and Melbourne from June 2011 to August that year.
County Court judge Gerard Mullaly said stern punishment awaited men who put their own “perverse sexual pleasure” above the rights of women, the Age reported.
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“The sexual assault of fellow female passengers on public transport is shameful and dishonourable,” he said. “Decent men do not do this.”
Chopra used to take their hands claiming to be a palm reader and put it on his crotch, or put his hand on or near their crotch.
Prosecutor Neill Hutton said Chopra also put his hand up a woman’s dress.
“This continued until the offender got off the train at Bendigo. He turned (to the victim) and said ‘Have a nice have a nice life’, as he did so,” Hutton was quoted as saying in the report.
Chopra pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault and two charges of attempted indecent assault.
The court heard Chopra’s offending escalated in seriousness and that he had initially denied the charges, but changed his plea to guilty to “save face” with his family.
Judge Mullaly said Chopra’s “shameful and concerning behaviour” had had a profound and lasting impact on his victims.
One victim had suffered a severe blow to her self-confidence and was anxious, distrustful and felt constantly disappointed with herself, the court was told.
Judge Mullaly said Chopra’s crimes also had a “corrosive” effect on the community because they added “to the unfortunate sense of fear that women have, that public transport is not safe”.
Chopra, who was supported in court by his wife, will have his name put on the sex offenders registry for life, the report said.