“Speak English or Die”, Melbourne Man Jailed for Racial Abuse of French Tourist
By Athena Yenko | March 21, 2014 3:04 PM EST
On Thursday, court ruled against David Graham, a man who verbally abused a French tourist aboard a bus.
In Nov 11 2012, French tourist Fanny Desaintjores, together with her friends, sung in French while on a bus travelling between Mordialloc and Highett.
Mr Graham coyly told Ms Desaintjores to "speak English or die." He made mockery about her appearance and told her he would cut her breast off using a filleting knife.
Another man with Mr Graham, Hayden Stirling Stewart, joined the abuse and threatened that he will cut her with a box cutter. Mr Stewart then swung his arm as an act of threat to the French tourists, breaking a window bus.
The abuse was caught in video by another passenger and was uploaded through social media channels. The video went viral with 4 million views on YouTube.
During an interview with Fairfax media in 2012, Ms Desaintjores said that she first thought that Mr Graham was joking.
"I thought he was kind of joking at first and then I realised he wasn't kidding at all, so my friends and I stopped laughing. We were quite afraid that he (would come) and hit us."
She said she got really scared when Mr Stewart smashed a window near her as he got off the bus.
"I realise that maybe we shouldn't sing in a public transport, but I think that's insane that they reacted like that, we're all adults," she said.
Both Mr Graham and Mr Stewart pleaded guilty to the charges of inflicting serious injury and behaving in an indecent manner in a public place.
The court through Magistrate Jennifer Anne Benn Goldsbrough ruled that the abuse was "overwhelmingly sexist, misogynist remarks and occasionally racist".
"It was not a horrible, offensive throwaway line but an ongoing tirade of vile, offensive, aggressive words," she said.
Ms Goldsbrough also ruled for Mr Graham to submit himself to community service and to attend anger management classes and behavioural change program.
Ms Goldsbrough accounted that Mr Graham's criminal history dates back when he was just 17, and it was alarming that he had not subjected to a therapeutic order.
"This is the opportunity to use the therapy offered to you, to choose a different life," she told Mr Graham.
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