Australian teen jailed in Indian student's death

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2011 7:53 PM
Australian teen jailed in Indian student's death

An Australian teenager who fatally stabbed an Indian student in an attack that prompted widespread outrage across India was sentenced Thursday to at least eight years in jail.

The 17-year-old, whose identity was suppressed by the court because he is a minor, pleaded guilty in April to the murder and attempted armed robbery of 21-year-old Nitin Garg. Garg was killed last year while walking through a park in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city.

The killing came amid a string of attacks in late 2009 and early 2010 against Indian students in Melbourne. The violence received widespread publicity in India, with some news outlets there claiming the attacks were racially motivated.

At the time, Australian police said race was a factor in some of the assaults, but many were ordinary crimes. Police said the attempted robbery of Garg's mobile phone _ rather than race _ was the motivation behind Garg's killing.

Victoria state Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan sentenced the teen to 13 years in jail, with a non-parole period of eight years. He could have received up to life in prison.

"In circumstances such as these there are just no winners," Coghlan said. "Although this was a very serious crime, it was committed spontaneously. It should be noted, however, that you chose to arm yourself and did a great deal to avoid apprehension for your crime."

The teen showed no visible reaction when his sentence was announced. But as he was escorted from the courtroom by guards, he appeared to be fighting back tears.