Vishal Jood, in judicial custody for his alleged role in a series of assaults against Sikhs in Sydney’s west, has pleaded guilty – sources close to the case have told NRI Affairs.
Jood will appear on September 2 before Magistrate K Thomson of Parramatta Court for sentencing.
Jood was arrested on 16 April and charged with three counts of affray, three counts of armed with intent to commit indictable offence, two counts of destroying or damaging property, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in the company of other(s). These offences carry separate jail terms ranging between two and ten years.
Jood last appeared before the court on August 12 via video conference when the court set a new hearing date as 27 January 2022 for 10 out of 12 charges. Hearing for two counts of Common Assault was earlier set for 31 January 2022. Now, with Jood reportedly pleading guilty to his charges, the sentencing is expected tomorrow.
The issue has made news headlines in India where it has been alleged Vishal Jood was acting to protect the Indian flag from being dishonoured by ‘Khalistanis’. The Haryana Chief Minister had intervened in the matter and written to India’s Foreign Minister to get Vishal released. In a tweet, CM’s office wrote, “CM @mlkhattar spoke to External Affairs Minister, Shri @DrSJaishankar for immediate release of Vishal Jude, a Haryanvi youth lodged in Australia’s jail & appealed for immediate intervention in the matter. The Foreign Minister has conveyed India’s concern to the Australian Embassy”.
A group of Jood’s Harvanvi community members in India, with the support from political leaders, had carried out a campaign demanding Jood’s release.
At the time of his arrest, Jood was reported to have been living in Australia under an expired visa.
Supporters had cited Jood’s nationalism and his defence of the Indian flag as the reason for his arrest and asked for consular support from the Indian Government to assist Jood with his court case.
Among the political leaders who tweeted in support of Jood were Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kapil Mishra, Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga, BJP’s spokesperson from Delhi and Dr Subhash Sharma, BJP General Secretary, Punjab.
Olympian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, who is also from Haryana, was also among the public figures who tweeted in support of Jood, as was Neeraj Chopra who later went on to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.