Sydney man charged over attack
A TEENAGE girl travelling on a Country Link train near Casino alleges she was indecently assaulted by a passenger after he covered her with a blanket and began groping her.
Kamel Assaf, 44, of Mulla Road in Yagoona, Sydney, was granted bail in the Lismore Local Court yesterday after police charged him with one count of indecently assaulting the 15-year-old girl on the train early on Monday morning.
Assaf was taken off the Sydney to Brisbane train when it stopped at the Casino railway station after the girl complained to railway staff, who then contacted police. He has denied the accusation.
Magistrate Robyn Denes asked defence lawyer Tom Trembath if his client required a Lebanese Arabic-speaking interpreter, but was told no because Assaf had been living in Australia since arriving with his parents as an 11-year-old child and had no language difficulties.
Police prosecutor Sgt Peter Costin-Neilsen said the matter would likely go to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions because of the nature of the charge and young age of the alleged victim.
He said police still had to receive a statement from the girl, but did not oppose bail because Assaf had no similar offences on his police record.
Mr Trembath said his client was on a disability pension because he suffered a degenerative disease causing spasms and stiffening of the muscles. He had been travelling on the train to Brisbane to see his wife.
The girl is alleging Assaf assaulted her some hours after she sat beside him on the train and fell asleep during the night.
She told police that shortly before arriving at Casino the accused put his blanket over her then cupped her left breast with his hand and squeezed.
After pushing his hand away the girl told police Assaf tried to undo the belt on her jeans before putting his hand inside her jeans.
The girl says she pulled his hand out from her jeans and took the blanket off, but alleged Assaf then tried kissing her and she was able to push him away.
In granting him bail, Ms Denes said Assaf must report three times a week to Bankstown police.
“Can I see my wife first (in Brisbane),” Assaf asked Ms Denes.
“No. You are going back to Sydney, sorry,” Ms Denes replied.
The case was adjourned to late August.