INDIAN national Jaspreet Singh has pleaded guilty to torching his car and taking advantage of racial tensions by falsely telling police he was set on fire by four men.
Mr Singh, 28, this morning was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to a wholly suspended 8 month jail term.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton said Mr Singh acted with “stupidity and superficiality” when he decided to douse his Ford Sedan with petrol and set it alight so he could reclaim $11,000 in insurance in January of this year.
She said the crime was aggravated by the fact that Mr Singh falsely told police that he was attacked by four men at a time when tensions between the Indian and Australian communities were high following the murder of Nitin Garg in a Melbourne park.
“To have these difficulties, and to have you cynically feed into that – effectively racism – is a serious and cynical decision,” Magistrate Broughton said.
“It was clearly a whole enterprise, a pre-meditated enterprise, that you entered into essentially for money,” she said.
The court heard that Mr Singh had wanted to recoup the insurance money for his car to finance a holiday back to India.
He spent a month in the Alfred Hospital because of injuries sustained in the incident, the court heard.
Mr Singh, from Essendon, is living in Australia on a spousal visa. He was supported in court by his wife who is studying on a student visa.