A Melbourne man who ejaculated on women at music festivals will not spend a moment behind bars or be registered as a sex offender.Warning: The following story contains content that some readers may find distressing.
- Muhammad Khan pleaded guilty to assaulting four women over a four year period
- One woman told the court she was flooded with feelings of shame after she was assaulted
- Khan must complete a rehabilitation program and 250 hours of community service
Muhammad Bilal Khan, 40, today narrowly avoided jail in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court for crimes which his victims said left them feeling unclean and uncomfortable in their own skin.
Instead, the father of two was given a community-based order and 250 hours of unpaid work, a sentence which prosecutors are already considering appealing.
Khan, of Keilor, appeared by video link because of Victoria's hard lockdown and spoke sparingly.
He pleaded guilty to three sex assault charges and another of indecent assault.
The court heard he was supported by his wife, who said she was proud to describe her husband as "a man of high moral standards, strong values and decency".
But Magistrate Tara Hartnett said that description was contradicted by the offending against his victims.
"It was despicable conduct by you and purely for your own gratification," she said.
"This offending was bold and it was brazen. You were not known to any of them and you ejaculated on three of them.
"There is simply no excuse for your behaviour."
Assaults happened over years
In February 2015, Khan attacked his first victim at the St Kilda Festival where she was standing near the front stage.
"You approached her from behind," the magistrate said.
"When she turned around, she saw you doing your pants up."
Through a victim impact statement, the woman told the court that she was flooded with feelings of shame after she was assaulted.
Sexual assault support services:
"I began to feel increasingly isolated and uncomfortable in my own skin, as though I'll never be clean again," she said.
"Anyone who resembles the offender immediately causes me immense distress.
"It has had a profound and direct influence on who I am todayand it has caused me an immense amount of suffering."
She told the court the assault had kindled an addiction to prescription drugs and a number of suicide attempts.
Exactly two years later, in February 2017, Khan assaulted another woman in the same manner on a tram.
He struck again in March 2018 at the Brunswick Festival, attacking a victim while she stood and watched a busker, who had a baby strapped to her back.
"It was while watching this mother and child perform that I felt something wet on my backside," she said through a victim impact statement.
"My first reaction was to assume someone around me had tripped over and spilled their lemon sorbet. The horrified look from my friends and others around me was enough to help me realise it was not.
"Amongst all the horrified faces, one face stood out. I saw one man staring at me with a smile on his face. I cannot be sure if the person smiling was the same person who assaulted me.
"I felt small, helpless, victimised, bullied and embarrassed."
Khan's last attack happened at the Carlton Club in October 2019 when he was caught groping a woman.
It was then that police took his DNA and matched it to the other three victims.
Court told the attacks escalated over time
When asked to explain how his bodily fluids were on the women, Khan told police: "I don't know how to answer that question, it is information for me, I am trying to process it."
He also said: "It surprises me. I don't know what you want me to say. I'm collecting this information and I will speak to my family and my lawyer."
The court today heard that Khan's criminal behaviour persisted over an extended period of time and "escalated" from non-contact offending to sexual assault.
Khan told a forensic psychologist that his "closeness to women on the tram and at music festivals had triggered a state of arousal ... which had led him ... to masturbate".
"[The forensic psychologist] said that the arousal he experienced had been so intense that he had not been able to delay acting on it until he had moved to a private location," Magistrate Hartnett said.
Since his crimes came to light, Khan has lost his six-figure job as an analyst at a TAFE, but he is still supported by his wife of eight years.
"She says she's proud to say that you are a man of high moral standards, strong values and decency," Magistrate Hartnett said.
"That description of decency seems somewhat at odds with the offending that you committed."
Prosecutors asked the magistrate to jail Khan but she instead gave him two-year community-based order with a conviction, and 250 hours of unpaid work.
"If you had any sort of prior history for this sort of conduct, I would have no hesitation imposing a lengthy jail sentence for you to serve immediately," Magistrate Hartnett said.
She ordered Khan to participate in rehabilitation programs.
"Mr Khan I need to make this clear to you ... if you breach this order .. you run a significant risk of going into custody," she said.