Little Or No Justice For Brave Rana
People who are skeptical of the legal system here in Australia have even more reason to be cynical after the farcical events of the past 48 hours or so.
I am referring specifically to the unbelievably inadequate sentence handed down by the judge in the assault case we reported on last November on this website (see article headed “Pregnant Muslim Woman Attacked: Was It Random?”) when a heavily pregnant Muslim sister was punched to the ground and stomped on in an unprovoked attack in a Parramatta cafe.
43 year old Stipe Lozina was recorded by security cameras walking into the cafe and briefly speaking to 38 weeks pregnant Rana Elasmar.
The video footage then shows Lozina leaping across the table and punching Rana several times to the head and body with both fists, knocking her to the ground and stomping on her before bystanders were able to drag him off.
Lozina was charged with assault and affray and representing himself in court on September 15, he attempted to justify the attack by claiming that “Muslims wrecked my mum”.
At last Thursday’s sentencing, he repeatedly disrupted proceedings in the NSW District Court, interjecting via the video link to allege someone of the same religion as Ms Elasmar (a Muslim) had once harmed his mother.
Judge Christopher Craigie warned Lozina the video link would be muted if he continued interrupting.
“Thank you,” Lozina said before standing up, turning off the lights in the room and facing the door…..not only disrespecting the court but also the poor woman he had so savagely assaulted!!
When told by a correctional officer the sentencing would proceed without him, Lozina replied: “I don’t care.”
The judge continued on with the sentencing and said that Rana was justifiably terrified during the “inherently vicious” attack.
“The assault was one with a grave potential to cause very serious harm to both the victim and her unborn child,” he said.
Addressing the court during the September 15 trial, Rana had spoken tearfully of the fear she had felt for her unborn child.
“I made a conscious decision to turn my abdomen away from his punches; I wanted to protect my baby,” she recalled.
“I remember thinking….’it’s okay, hit my head as long as you don’t touch my baby’….”
So there you have it….an unprovoked attack on a defenceless woman due to give birth any day….and then the attacker turns his back on both the court and the victim during the sentencing hearing!!
So just how many years gaol do you think this violent and arrogant man received??
Do I hear ten years…..15 years….20 years?
Try THREE YEARS….with a non parole period of just TWO (years)!!
So effectively, this menace to society could be roaming the streets of western Sydney as early as mid-2022.
Describing Lozina’s rude and insulting actions in turning his back on the court, Judge Craigie stated he had not experienced an interruption like it in over 40 years in the criminal justice system.
He then explained that he discounted Lozina’s sentence by 25 percent due to “his long standing struggle with mental illness”.
Yet the judge didn’t prevent the allegedly mentally ill Lozina from representing himself in court.
So let’s get this straight: Lozina was permitted by the judge to represent himself in court and then given a discounted sentence due to ongoing mental health issues….am I the only one who sees some massive contradictions here!!??
Yes, the system is a joke – but to think that this guy will be eligible for parole in just 20 months from now is no laughing matter.
But through all this, Rana Elasmar and her family have shown great class, great diplomacy and above all great strength and courage.
Following the sentencing, Rana said that it was worrying that Lozina was still having issues with his temper.
However, she praised the public for supporting her and stated: “….it’s really given me confidence to walk out again and be confident in wearing my hijab.”
Rana’s husband, Azzam, expressed concern that Lozina would represent a “safety hazard” for the community when he is released.
“He doesn’t accept what he did was wrong, he justifies his actions,” Azzam said.
Azzam is also full of praise for his wife for the way she has dealt with the attack.
“Not many people who have gone through what she has would be able to walk away with it like she has.”
RAMIA SPEAKS OUT
Ramia Abdo Sultan is a much admired leader within the Sydney Muslim community.
She is also a very prominent lawyer, co-founding legal firm Lawbridge Lawyers and she is also the Community Relations Advisor to the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC).
Ramia, whom we featured in an article on this website last May (see article headlined: “Role Model Ramia’s A Shining Example”) didn’t pull any punches when discussing Lozina’s sentencing on social media.
“Today (Thursday) the sentencing of the horrid attacker of our dear sister Rana Elasmar and her friends took place,” she wrote on Facebook.
“He was sentenced to three years with a non-parole period of two years…. hardly enough for the ruthless punches he threw at a helpless, pregnant female who was minding her own business.
“Despite the numerous anti-Muslim rants during the attack and during the court process, his motive was apparently not the fact that Rana happened to be identifiably Muslim.
“Yes, his mental state played a part in his atrocious behaviour, but hate and bigotry also drove him to commit a low act such as this.
“I am praying that justice is somewhat served to Rana and her family and that she heals from this horrible incident. Alhamdulilah she and her unborn child came out of this safe…..
“True justice will be served in the Highest of courts one day…. in the next life….inshaAllah.”
As I revealed when I wrote the original story of the assault late last year, Rana’s husband Azzam is a very good friend of mine.
I can tell you that this past year or so has been a hugely stressful time for Rana and Azzam and their entire family.
We wish Azzam and Rana all the very best for the future and may Allah reward them for their faith and courage during a very difficult time of their lives.