Australian man handed 'inadequate' three-year sentence for brutal attack on pregnant Muslim woman

Australian man handed 'inadequate' three-year sentence for brutal attack on pregnant Muslim woman
The victim’s family fear the perpetrator's return to Australia’s streets within two years will be a 'safety hazard' for the Muslim community.
2 min read
02 October, 2020
Rana Elasmar told the court she feared for her life during the attack [TNA]

An Australian man who brutally attacked a heavily pregnant Muslim woman in a Sydney cafe has been handed a maximum three-year prison sentence.

The victim and her family have slammed the punishment as inadequate, fearing that the perpetrator could reoffend once released.

"The victim suffers with the consequences far longer than the time the offender serves," 32-year-old Rana Elasmar, whose head was punched and stomped on during the attack, said outside Paramatta court on Thursday.

"It's worrying that he's still displaying aggressive behaviour and a short temper." she added.

Stipe "Steven" Lozina was removed from his video-link sentence hearing after disrupting the court by repeating the same Islamaphobic slur he had shouted prior to the vicious attack at Bay Vista cafe November last year.

"Thinking about this guy potentially being on the streets within two years is a safety hazard for the community, it puts everyone at risk," Azzam Elasmar, the mother-of-four's husband, said.

"This guy can definitely reoffend," he added.

Stipe Lozina approached Rana Elasmar who joined friends at a West Sydney cafe, initially asking her for money. He then screamed "you Muslim raped my mum" before leaning over and punching Elasmar to the ground. Elasmar was 38-weeks pregnant at the time.

Elsamar, who was wearing a hijab, was struck at least 14 times and stomped on before other customers intervened and pulled the attacker away.

Last month, Elasmar told the court how she turned her abdomen away from the direction of the strikes and prayed to God to protect her child.

"If nobody intervened, I could have been killed," she said. "I remember thinking – hit my head as long as you don't touch my baby" she added.

Read more: Heavily pregnant Muslim woman 'feared for her life' during brutal Sydney cafe attack

The court heard how Elasmar suffered lasting trauma, including fears of being out in public and explaining the attack to her children.

Yet she described the attack a lighting "a fire" within her, saying: "Islamophobia needs to end. Violence against women needs to stop."

Sentencing judge Christopher Craigie, who had previously called the attack "wicked and deplorable", said on Thursday: "The assault was one with a grave potential to cause very serious harm to both the victim and her unborn child."

He also noted that 44-year-old Lozina had been diagnosed with schizophrenic and had "longstanding struggle with mental illness."

Lozina has refused legal representation on numerous occasions and will be eligible for parole in 2022.

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