A man being sentenced for bashing a pregnant Muslim woman in Western Sydney has turned his back in court on the victim who endured his “inherently vicious” and unprovoked attack.
- Stipe Lozina represented himself in court
- He interrupted today’s court hearing in Sydney several times
- He was today jailed for three years
Stipe Lozina, 43, was recorded on CCTV in November asking Rana Elasmar for change in a Parramatta cafe before leaping across the table.
Today, he repeatedly disrupted sentence proceedings in the NSW District Court, interjecting on the video link to allege someone of the same religion as Ms Elasmar had harmed his mother.
Judge Christopher Craigie warned Lozina the link would be muted if he continued.
“Thank you,” Lozina said before standing up, turning off the lights in the room and facing the door.
When told by a correctional officer the sentence would proceed without him, he replied: “I don’t care.”
Judge Craigie pressed on with the sentence and said Ms Elasmar was justifiably terrified during the “inherently vicious” attack.
“The assault was one with a grave potential to cause very serious harm to both the victim and her unborn child,” he said.
It had also shaken Ms Elasmar’s perception of the Australian community, the judge added.
He sentenced Lozina to three years with a non-parole period of two years.
Judge Craigie said he had not experienced an interruption like Lozina’s in well over 40 years in the criminal justice system.
In sentencing, he acknowledged Lozina’s “longstanding struggle with mental illness”, and applied a 25 per cent discount for his guilty plea.
Lozina, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, declined to use Legal Aid and insisted on representing himself through the proceedings, despite being warned against doing so.
He pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and faced a maximum five years in prison.
Ms Elasmar, who claimed she was targeted because she was wearing a hijab, earlier this month told the court how she feared for her unborn child during the assault.
The former schoolteacher was 38-weeks pregnant at the time and recalled making a conscious decision to turn her abdomen away from Lozina’s punches to protect her baby.
Ms Elasmar suffered a cut and swelling to the head, but said there were also psychological impacts on both herself and her young children.
Lozina will be eligible for parole in June 2022.