Indian expat in Australia uses Bollywood excuse to avoid stalking conviction

Published:  3 Feb at 9 AM
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An Indian expat in Australia avoided being convicted of stalking women by saying that love stories from Bollywood movies led to him acting the way he did.

Sandesh Baliga, who lives in the island state of Tasmania, was accused of excessively approaching and stalking women, but managed to escape conviction by blaming his country’s film industry. A judge in the city of Hobart took the cultural background of the 32-year-old into consideration when making his ruling and, instead, placed him on a restraining order.

Balina, who is in Australia to study accounting and also has a part-time job as a security guard, explained that Bollywood films led to him believing that pursuing the woman of your desires eventually persuades her to fall in love with you. The court was told that he approached, texted and called a number of women “excessively”, at times even calling himself their boyfriend.

However, Judge Michael Hill acknowledged that his cultural background meant he didn’t realise his actions were against the law. In adjourning the complaint, he described the charges as “serious”, but said he was concerned a conviction could affect the defendant’s future job prospects.

Baliga’s lawyer had earlier told the court that his client’s behaviour was “normal” in India.
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