Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
A 48-year-old man from Eastlakes has been arrested and charged for allegedly committing a lewd sex act in front of another passenger on a train at Redfern earlier this year.
The incident took place on Saturday 22 August 2020 when a 21-year-old woman boarded the Redfern train for her morning commute around 6:50am.
It is reported that the woman sat down in the carriage, at which point another passenger allegedly exposed himself and performed a sex act in-front of her.
The woman reported the confrontation to Redfern Police Area Command who commenced an investigation.
After a series of enquiries, on Tuesday 6 October, a 48-year-old man from Eastlakes was arrested at his home.
He was taken to Mascot Police Station where he was charged with the offence of carrying out a sex act without consent.
The accused was given conditional bail and is due to face the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 18 November.
While investigations continue, police are reminding the public and particularly those who frequent public transport and may have experienced something similar, to always report the incident to police.
It has been assured that information is treated in strict confidence, while members of the public are advised not to report crime via the online NSW Police social media page.
In NSW, it is an offence to commit a “sexual act” without the consent of another person.
As per section 61HC of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), a “sexual act” is understood as an act, other than sexual touching, that a reasonable person would consider sexual.
Generally speaking, this includes acts where the area of the body involved is a person’s genital area or anal area, or the person’s breasts (whether they are sexually developed or not) in the case of a female, where the person carrying out the act does so for the purpose of obtaining sexual arousal or sexual gratification.
The penalties for carrying out a sexual act without the requisite consent is dealt with in section 61KE of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). This offence carries a maximum penalty of up to 18 months imprisonment or a fine of up to $5,500, or both, to anyone who is found guilty in NSW.
However, where a person commits the offence of a sexual act on a child who is 10 – 15 years of age, NSW law advises a maximum penalty of up to two years in jail.
University Students Shown to be Group Most Likely to be Sexually Harassed or Sexually Assaulted on Australian Public Transport
According to research from the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), worrying statistics reveal university students are the group most likely to be sexually harassed or sexually assaulted on Australian public transport.
In a survey carried out between 2015 and 2016, it was shown that an average of 22% of university students travelling on public transport to or from university were sexually harassed.
More worryingly, 57% of students who told the survey they had been sexually harassed on public transport in 2015/16 stated that the offender was a student from their own university and 11% of perpetrators were students from another university.
Unfortunately, public transport is fairly conducive to cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
This is largely due to the constricted and transitory nature of trains and buses, which in turn create spaces where perpetrators are guaranteed close proximity to women.
Existing research underscores the devastating impacts of being sexual harassed or sexually assaulted while travelling on public transport — and this is particularly the case for women.
There is a tendency for such negative experiences on public transport to result in deep-seated behaviours that shape a woman’s entire life.
In fact, cases exist in which women have said their experience of sexual harassment or sexual assault was so debilitating that they withdrew from university altogether — in turn impacting their future access to employment and education.
Moreover, such incidents of sexual harassment or assault also impact their desire to return to public transport.
Research consistently clearly shows that women avoid travelling at certain times, while some feel it necessary to avoid public transport altogether.
Meanwhile, as far as perpetrators are concerned, the AHRC survey reinforced the problem that there is little social or legal risk or accountability for sexual harassment and sexual assault on public transport.
Unfortunately, offenders are only encouraged in public transport spaces.
Have a question on sexual act laws? Speak to a Parramatta criminal lawyer today. Our lawyers are experienced specialists in criminal law.