Australian court rejects Indian origin man's plea

Sydney, Sep 18 — A court in Australia Wednesday rejected a plea by an Indian origin man, charged with rape and sexual assault, to change his guilty plea to not guilty.

Judge Meryl Sexton of the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court rejected the appeal by Vinod Johnny Kumar, 29, that his not-guilty plea be accepted so that he could be tried in court charged with having committed offences.

Kumar, a former casual worker at Yooralla, the largest non-government disability service provider in the Australian state of Victoria, was charged with raping two women residents and sexually assaulting two other severely disabled residents between October 2011 and February 2012, Australian media reported.

He was also suspended twice from the Yooralla house for misconduct.

The court also heard that Kumar had hurled lewd comments at a resident and, in another incident, he twisted the nipple of a resident in August, 2011.

Following the complaint, he was removed from the centre but worked for Yooralla in some other place.

Vinod was suspended four months later on a resident’s complaint in December 2011 that he had sexually assaulted her and made an inappropriate comment.

Kumar contested the charges before pleading guilty in March this year during a committal hearing in the magistrates court.

According to the Melbourne Age, Kumar again pleaded guilty in the county court in April to various charges, including eight rape offences and two of sexual penetration.

But when he was due to be sentenced, he changed his mind upon learning he would still get more than 10 years in jail term and filled an application in the court to change his guilty plea to not guilty.

In his application, Kumar claimed he pleaded guilty because he believed it would reduce his jail term and that he could return to India as quickly as possible as his parents had died.

“In this case I find that the plea of guilty…was unequivocal and made in circumstances suggesting that it was a true admission of guilt,” The Australian quoted judge Sexton as saying.

“There is no doubt as to the nature of the plea, or any reason to suppose that Kumar was not thoroughly aware of what he was doing,” the Age quoted her as saying.

The judge then refused to alter Kumar’s plea from guilty to not guilty.

However, Kumar’s barrister Peter Kilduff said that he would file a review petition in the court of appeal against the ruling.


Source: IANS

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