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Video of racial tirade on bus goes viral

On a Melbourne bus on November 11, a man started a race-based attack against some French women, in particular one. Passenger Mike Nayna turned on his camera.

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A man who racially abused a French woman on a Melbourne bus has been sentenced to 21 days in prison.

David Graham was one of two men who threatened and abused tourist Fanny Desaintjores after she and her friends began singing in French on the bus between Mordialloc and Highett on November 11, 2012.

Graham told Ms Desaintjores to "speak English or die", and said he would cut her breasts off with a filleting knife. He also insulted her appearance and made references to slavery. The other man, Hayden Stirling Stewart, 26, threatened to cut her with a box cutter and swung his arm at the bus after he got off the bus, breaking a window.

David Graham outside court.

David Graham outside court. Photo: Ken Irwin

Some of their rants were captured on video with a passenger's mobile phone and gained international notoriety. Graham's lawyer, Manny Nicolosi, told the court on Thursday that the video had been viewed more than 4 million times since it was uploaded to YouTube.

Both men pleaded guilty to making a threat to inflict serious injury and behaving in an indecent manner in a public place.

Magistrate Jennifer Anne Benn Goldsbrough said that she considered Graham the "primary offender."

Ms Goldsbrough described the rants as "overwhelmingly sexist, misogynist remarks and occasionally racist", which all the passengers on the bus were subjected to.

"It was not a horrible, offensive throwaway line but an ongoing tirade of vile, offensive, aggressive words," she said.

The threats were "offensive to the entire population", Ms Goldsbrough said.

She took into account Graham’s guilty plea and high chance of rehabilitation.

Ms Goldsbrough also issued a community corrections order against him, ordering him to attend anger management classes and a men’s behaviour change program.

Mr Nicolosi said that Graham had a significant history of alcohol abuse but had abstained from alcohol since the incident. Months beforehand, he had begun seeing a psychologist, the court heard.
Graham was now on medication and had been taught skills on how to deal with stress, Mr Nicolosi said.

Stewart, who had already been in custody for 63 days, was released on Thursday on a community corrections order, which involved 150 hours community work and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Ms Goldsbrough took into account the time he had already served, his "lesser role’’ in the abuse and the fact that the property damage to the bus, while reckless, was "unintentional".

Stewart’s remarks, seemed "highly rude, violent and threatening but (a) misguided attempt to defend your partner who was also abusive," she said.

Ms Goldsbrough noted that his criminal history had begun when he was 17 and said she was "alarmed" that he had never been offered a therapeutic order, though he had previously suffered depression.

"This is the opportunity to use the therapy offered to you, to choose a different life," she said.

Stewart will return to court in May to face unrelated charges.