Refugee sexually assaulted girl one month after getting visa
A REFUGEE sexually assaulted a teenage girl on a city-bound train just one month after earning a visa on "humanitarian grounds", a court has heard.
Sayed Mohammad Sidaqat, 34, appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today and pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault.
Prosecutors told the court that, on July 17, Sidaqat boarded an Outer Harbour line train at Ethelton and sat down next to a girl, 16.
He "squashed her" up against the side of the train before caressing her hand and placing it on his erect penis.
Prosecutors said the girl felt "extremely scared and powerless" as Sidaqat kissed her neck, fondled her breasts and tried to touch her pubic region.
Francis Elekwachi, for Sidaqat, said his client was an Afghani national who fled the country to escape the Taliban.
He said Sidaqat's wife, four children, mother and sister-in-law were in a refugee camp in Pakistan.
"My client was arrested during the Taliban regime, imprisoned and tortured," Mr Elekwachi said.
"About five years ago he managed to escape ... he emigrated to Australia in search of safety and a better life for himself and his family.
"He was granted a visa on humanitarian grounds in June of this year, and came to Adelaide on June 15."
He said Sidaqat suffered from mental health issues including post-traumatic stress, but was remorseful and unlikely to reoffend.
Magistrate Joseph Baldino said he could not be sure of that without further psychological reports.
"He came to Adelaide on the 15th and committed this offence on the 17th, just a month later," Mr Baldino said.
"I don't think I can deal with this without further exploration."
He ordered psychological and psychiatric reports, and remanded Sidaqat on continuing bail for sentencing in November.
Outside court, the victim's father said his daughter was "coping" after her ordeal.
"She feels like she can't let things get her down, and she's travelling on the train again," he said.
He said it was "very distressing" for Sidaqat to be on bail.
"I don't want this sort of thing to happen again, to someone else," he said.
"Our laws really have to be looked at, here in Australia, when people commit offences and get bail."