A Sydney man has been ordered to pay more than $130,000 in compensation to an Asian man he brutally bashed during a cowardly, unprovoked and racially motivated attack, a court has heard. David Chia was sitting in a car with his girlfriend outside his home in Pymble in the early hours of January 21, 2006, when they were approached by a group of men who emerged from a nearby property.
''We have been drinking, we are pissed and your being in a car outside is really weirding us out,'' one of the men told the couple.
During a hearing in the NSW District Court in November, Mr Chia said the men allowed the couple to move further down the street, out of their sight, after he had shaken hands with one of them, Shaun Wickenden (pictured left).
But later that evening, when the men approached in their cars, Mr Chia's foot was struck by one of the vehicles and he was set upon. He told his girlfriend to drive away as the men began punching him and kicking his head as he lay on the ground.
Mr Wickenden yelled: ''You f***ing Asian, I'm going to kill you, you gook,'' the court heard.
Mr Chia ran past his home, where he knew his parents to be sleeping, as he was afraid the men would follow him there. He ran down the driveway of a nearby property, where Mr Wickenden caught up with him, striking him on the back and the head with a garden stake he had taken from a neighbouring front yard.
Mr Wickenden was convicted of the assault and fined $1000, but his co-offenders remain at large, the court heard. Mr Chia suffered a broken leg, partial facial nerve palsy and neck and shoulder injuries. He was on crutches for more than six months and continues to suffer post traumatic stress.
''I accept unreservedly that the plaintiff was attacked … in a cowardly, vicious and violent [manner], completely uncalled for,'' said Judge Ray McLoughlin. ''The plaintiff has suffered significantly from this violent assault … inflicted against him by the defendant and his cohorts who have never been identified.''
He awarded Mr Chia $130,505, including $75,000 in general damages and $40,000 in aggravated and exemplary damages.
I don't have a lot of information on this case, so it leaves me with a few questions. How come, 4 years later, Wickenden's accomplices have never been apprehended? Did he refuse to give them up? And the original punishment of $1000 seems manifestly inadequate for such a brazen and unprovoked assault. However, forcing him to pay Chia's compensation out of his own pocket seems like a better brand of justice. Shame it took 4 years though.
Reminds me of this recent story of an elderly Filipino man bashed to death in a random attack. In that case as well, alcohol was involved, but it was only the facilitator for ugly racism to come to the surface. In the light of recent violence towards Indian students, our police and politicians are always keen to downplay this kind of thing and reassure us that Australia is not a racist country. And I hope they are right, but the fact that this kind of thing happens at all seems to indicate otherwise.