August 14 2017 – 5:53PM
Suong Nguyen was “scared” of a woman wearing a niqab when she banged on her car door, told her to take off her mask, and called her a terrorist.
The victim, Semaa Abdulwali, filmed the racist attack in the car park at Macquarie University on January 20, and the footage was watched by millions of people when her husband Ramzy Alamudi posted it online.
Nguyen was on Monday handed good behaviour bonds and a fine, after pleading guilty to intimidation and causing damage.
Magistrate Suzanne Seagrave said Nguyen displayed an “unexplainable prejudice that has no place whatsoever in our multicultural society”.
“It appeared to have been triggered by Mrs Abdulwali’s apparel, something that Ms Nguyen immediately resented and was angered by,” the magistrate said.
“The motive was prejudice against people of a particular faith.”
Nguyen’s lawyer, Andrew Tiedt, said the university had banned her from campus, and the incident had shattered her family life.
He said Nguyen wanted to express her remorse to the victims, who watched on as she banged on their windows, yelled, and paced around the front of their car.
“She regrets what she did … and says she understands the distress and fear it would have caused,” Mr Tiedt said.
“She’s sure they’ve been through quite an ordeal through this process.”
Mr Tiedt said there was no excuse for Ms Nguyen’s actions.
“There’s an unjustified, but growing fear of the Muslim community and that isn’t in any way justifying what occurred.
“She was scared, she was afraid of them, then completely overreacted.”
He said Nguyen was recognised on the street after the video of the attack was widely shared.
“This has been a horrific six months for her and that’s by her own making.
“It seems everyone in Sydney has seen the video … that’s a stain on Ms Nguyen’s character.
“It’s unpleasant conduct to the extreme … she knows she did the wrong thing.”
Police prosecutor Ernest Chan said the victims were subjected to a prolonged and disturbing rant that was “unfounded racial and religious prejudice”.
Nguyen’s actions were motivated by hatred, he said.
“This is an incident that will have life-long impacts on both victims.”
Ms Seagrave handed Nguyen a two-year good behaviour bond for the intimidation charge, fined her $750, and ordered she be supervised by Community Corrections.
The magistrate said Nguyen must obey any directions to go into anger management counselling.
She was also handed a one-year good behaviour bond for the damage charge, to be served at the same time, and to pay $817 for damage to the couple’s car.