Vishal Jood will be released from custody in six weeks following negotiations between his Liverpool criminal lawyers and the DPP.
Vishal Jood was charged with 11 offences including a charge under section 93z of the Crimes Act of publicly threatening or inciting violence on grounds of religion. This charge was based on accusations made against Vishal Jood was made by anti-India, anti-Modi and Khalistani elements in Sydney.
Appearing before Local Magistrate Local at Parramatta, the DPP withdrew eight charges, and in a plea bargain Vishal agreed to plead guilty to three charges. These charges relate to his altercations with other young boys which were treated as mere fights among the youth with no religious or other serious undertones.
14 February 2021 incident
Vishal’s counsel played a video to the court of a Farmers Rally at Quakers Hill in Sydney in December 2020. The video showed Vishal unfurling the Tiranga, following which over a dozen goons surrounded him, pushed and dragged him and assaulted him repeatedly. The crowd was chanting “Modi kutta, Modi kutta.”
The court heard that following this rally, Vishal received numerous threats on social media from anti-India elements.
On 14 February 2021, Vishal attended the Tiranga car rally, his lawyer told the court. At the end of the rally, a dozen or so of the organisers (including women) were having refreshments at Jones Park, Parramatta at about 4:30pm.
The organisers of the rally were approached by a group of over 100 Indian males. They were swearing and shouting slogans such as “Modi Murdabad.”
The court was told the group surrounded the rally organisers and demanded the names and car registration numbers of the “boys” who had been at the Tiranga rally. After making threats, the group left.
Evidence from another witness, who was present at Wigram Street, Harris Park between 5pm and 7pm on that day, was tendered to the court. His evidence was that he observed three groups of Indian males loitering in the area. Some were armed with weapons. Photos of two of the men armed with golf clubs were presented to the court.
The witness observed a number of cars driving slowly around the area and its occupants speaking to the groups of men. He then saw some of the men yelling and running in the middle of Wigram Street, armed with rod-like weapons.
At some point a large group marched along Wigram Street chanting anti-India slogans such as “Modi kutta hae.”
Vishal’s case was that approximately 7pm, he was standing on Wigram Street when he heard one the cars” occupant’s yelling, “There’s Rahul Jood.” Several people came out of one of the cars. One of them ran towards Vishal armed with a baseball bat. Vishal took the bat off him and smashed a window of the nearest car with it, to scare away his attackers.
He pleaded guilty to being armed with a weapon (a baseball bat) with intent to commit an indictable offence and damaging property (the car window).
16 September 2020 incident
Vishal pleaded guilty to one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company as to this incident.
The Court found that these offences were below the medium range of objective seriousness. The Court also found that Vishal had very good prospects of rehabilitation and a great deal to offer to the community.
The Court also counselled Vishal that “people will aggravate you,” but that he should resist the temptation to react in a violent manner.
Vishal Jood was represented by Mr Amendra Singh of counsel instructed by Liverpool law firm – Opal Legal.
It is significant to note that a police request to lay a charge under section 93Z of the Crimes Act of publicly threatening or inciting violence on grounds of religion was not sanctioned by the DPP.
The learned magistrate found Vishal’s conduct was NOT motivated by animosity towards Sikhs.
As a result of plea bargaining and Vishal pleading guilty to three charges, he will serve a total sentence of 6 months. Having been in custody since 16 April 2021, he is now eligible to be released on October 15.
Vishal Jood remains eligible to apply for PR in Australia as a result of this win with his maximum sentence remaining less than 12 months and the court’s findings on his character. Under the Migration act 1958, a person who has been found guilty and sentenced to an imprisonment of 12 months or more can have his application / visa to settle in Australia cancelled or refused,