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Indian taxi driver in Australia avoids jail over bashing elderly woman

An Indian taxi driver in Melbourne, who bashed an 81-year-old woman in his cab has avoided jail

Bhupinder Singh, 25, punched the woman in the face and pushed her out of his taxi after an argument about her destination on August 14 last year.

Victim Zainab Sarwari said during a previous court hearing that after sitting in Singh's taxi she realized he was not taking her to her destination and she therefore started to panic, removing her seatbelt and trying to open the door.

"I was saying. 'Stop stop' and I was very scared not knowing where he was taking me and what he was going to do to me," Sarwari said in that court hearing.

Singh drove faster and held the seatbelt so that the victim could not move. He later stopped the cab in a side street and punched Sarwari.

But Singh claimed in a recent court hearing that Sarwari was pulling on his jacket, punching his shoulder and crying, saying she had no money, so he asked her to get out of the cab.

He told police he pushed, but did not hit, Sarwari, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Meanwhile, the Victorian County Court Judge Frank Shelton said Singh had himself been attacked by two men in his taxi three weeks earlier and was anxious and depressed, and that he had a history of mental illness and post traumatic stress disorder.

Singh pleaded guilty to one charge of false imprisonment and one count of intentionally causing injury.

He was sentenced Singh to nine months in jail, wholly suspended, for false imprisonment.

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