Security guard avoids jail by blaming Bollywood for stalking habit


Australian lawyer defending Indian man says obsessively pursuing uninterested women is ‘quite normal behaviour’ for those who take their cues from Bollywood movies

An Indian security guard accused of stalking has avoided a conviction in an Australian court after blaming his actions on a passion for Bollywood movies, reports ABC.

Magistrate Michael Hill said he was taking into account the cultural background of 32-year-old Sandesh Baliga in adjourning the complaint against him for five years on condition of good behaviour. Baliga had been accused of stalking two women in 2012 and 2013, but his lawyer Greg Barns argued successfully that it was “quite normal behaviour” for Indian men to obsessively target women without obvious sign of their affections being returned. Male characters in colourful, romantic Bollywood movies are often seen determinedly pursuing their female counterparts until they finally acquiesce to a relationship, argued the defence team.

Baliga, a former student who arrived in Australia to study accounting three years ago from a remote, rural area of India, had texted, called and approached the women on a regular basis. He also began referring to himself as their boyfriend.

But Hill, of the Hobart magistrates court in Tasmania, said he did not want to damage the accused’s job prospects and was satisfied that the security guard’s cultural background meant he did not realise the seriousness of his actions and therefore did not imagine they could be classed as criminal. Baliga was also remorseful, had pleaded guilty – thereby sparing his victims the stress of appearing in court – and was unlikely to reoffend.

The security guard, who acknowledged that alcohol played a part in his behaviour, did not object to the magistrate imposing a restraint order.

Powered by article was written by Ben Child, for on Thursday 29th January 2015 11.02 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010