Thursday, 22 May 2008

'Happy slappers' sentenced

THREE young men who punched and kicked a homeless man in a Sydney park "just for entertainment" and filmed the attack "for a trophy" have been sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

The men, all in their early 20s, of good upbringing and without criminal records, should "hang their heads in shame", the magistrate Anthony Marsden said yesterday.

The practice of attacks on an unsuspecting victim while filming the assault - known as "happy slapping" - originated in London. Films have reportedly found their way onto YouTube.

Downing Centre Local Court heard yesterday that the men - Ismail Akbar Ridwan, 20, Shabeili Malek, 21, and Vanda Dayusman, 21 - were stopped by police in Clarence Street shortly before 1am on April 9 after being tipped off by a witness to the attack.

They found a video on Malek's mobile phone which showed Ridwan and Malek kicking and punching Lance Anderson in the head and body while he lay on the ground. The men were laughing and taunting the victim, the court heard.

Mr Anderson said he was sore all over but had no visible injuries and refused medical treatment.

The men allegedly told police the incident had been "just trivial" but they later disputed saying this.

Their lawyer, Mary Underwood, told the court Ridwan said the assault looked worse on the video than it was. "No doubt the victim will be happy to hear that," Mr Marsden said.

The men were affected by drugs and alcohol and all three had since stopped using drugs, Ms Underwood said.

Malek had said he wanted to apologise to the victim.

Ridwan was also fined $800 for carrying a knife and 66 grams of cannabis, while Malek was fined $300 for carrying one gram of cannabis.

Mr Marsden said he would have sent the men to jail, but for their guilty pleas and lack of criminal records.

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