News, Culture & Society

Jack Aston, Al Bayati and Yak Dut: Australia’s justice system in the spotlight

Australia’s justice system is in the spotlight as momentum grows to free a father who will spend more time in jail than a child abuser and a thug who bashed two female police officers before threatening to kill them.

Bus driver Jack Aston is serving five years and three months behind bars, with a non-parole of two-and-a-half years, for slamming his coach into an accident-prone Melbourne bridge, notorious for crashes involving overheight vehicles. 

Six people were injured, but no one was killed in the 2016 incident. The driver had a clean record. He wasn’t drunk and had no drugs in his system. Even his injured didn’t want him jailed. 

But while Aston languishes in a maximum security prison in Melbourne, security guard Mohammad Hassan Al Bayati could be walking the streets in as little as 30 months after kidnapping and abusing a three-year-old girl. 

Al Bayati, 30, led the girl away by her hand from a play area at DFO Homebush, in Sydney in December 2016, before touching her underwear and exposing his penis in a stairwell.

security guard Mohammad Hassan Al Bayati could be walking the streets in as little as 30 months after kidnapping and abusing a three-year-old girl 

Mohammad Hassan Al Bayati, 30, touched the young girl's underwear and indecently assaulted her at DFO Homebush, in Sydney in December 2016

Mohammad Hassan Al Bayati, 30, touched the young girl’s underwear and indecently assaulted her at DFO Homebush, in Sydney in December 2016

Eleven minutes later, after receiving sexual gratification, he walked her back to the playground where her seven-year-old sister was crying because she couldn’t find her younger sibling.

The girls’ mother, having returned from shopping, was also waiting there and was quickly berated by Al Bayati, who had the audacity to lecture her over the dangers of leaving kids unattended. 

On Tuesday he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years, but could be released by mid-2021.  

Meanwhile, a man who bashed two female police officers and boasted he wouldn’t go to jail ‘because he is black’ was given a slap on the wrist.

Yak Dut was pursued by the female police officers when they saw him driving a Volkswagen with a missing wheel in February last year in Mill Park, near Melbourne.

The then 21-year-old stopped outside his house in South Morang and assaulted the officers so violently they were rushed to hospital.

Yak Dut (pictured) bashed two female police officers and boasted he wouldn't go to jail 'because he is black' and received an even lighter slap on the wrist

Yak Dut (pictured) bashed two female police officers and boasted he wouldn’t go to jail ‘because he is black’ and received an even lighter slap on the wrist

He was last week sentenced to 12 months' jail and a two-year community corrections order, but on Friday he walked free with time already served

He was last week sentenced to 12 months’ jail and a two-year community corrections order, but on Friday he walked free with time already served 

The female officers, aged 36 and 57, claim to have trauma as a result of the attack which left them in hospital with injuries (pictured)

The female officers, aged 36 and 57, claim to have trauma as a result of the attack which left them in hospital with injuries (pictured)

Following his arrest, he threatened to hunt the women down and kill them with their own guns.

Dut then bragged that no judge would dare put him in jail due to his skin colour.  

‘I will get away with anything because I’m black. I will play the race card,’ he told police. 

He was last week sentenced to 12 months’ jail and a two-year community corrections order, but on Friday he walked free with time already served.

The leniency of Dut and Al Bayati’s sentences seem all the more unjust when compared to that of Aston, whose own victims believe he shouldn’t have been put behind bars. 

The 55-year-old drove the 3.8metre bus into the Montague Street bridge – which had a clearance of three metres – in February 2016.

Dieu Atem, 20, was sentenced earlier this month to five years - three months shy of Aston's sentence - for drunkenly mowing down revelers outside a Melbourne pub

 Dieu Atem, 20, was sentenced earlier this month to five years – three months shy of Aston’s sentence – for drunkenly mowing down revelers outside a Melbourne pub

More than 200 teens had congregated at the Gasometer Hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood for a rap music gig when Atem, drunk and concussed, drove his car into the crowd.

More than 200 teens had congregated at the Gasometer Hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood for a rap music gig when Atem, drunk and concussed, drove his car into the crowd.

In October last year, a jury found Aston guilty of six charges of negligently causing serious injury. 

‘Jack’s grouped with all those sorts of people, like he’s up there in jail with people who have murdered people,’ his wife Wendy told A Current Affair last week.

Since the father-of-two was put in jail, his family, friends and the wider community have rallied together to form a ‘Free Jack’ movement, calling for his release. 

Aston’s injured passengers believe his sentence was too severe, and have joined the campaign to free him.

Despite suffering a fractured spine, crushed vertebrae and being diagnosed with PTSD following the crash, Kathy Apostolidis believes community service would have been a more appropriate punishment. 

‘I thought (the sentence) was heavy-handed actually. I was surprised, I thought “wow, that’s a lot”,’ Ms Apostolidis said. 

‘We tend to forget that it was an accident’.    

The Ballarat father also has the support of media personalities, including 3AW broadcaster Justin Smith, who has been raising awareness for what he has slammed as an ‘unjust’ sentence.

‘We’ve seen years and years of lenient sentencing, and all of a sudden they’ve just decided to get tough and they’ve done it on a good guy,’ Smith said.  

‘The Montague Street Bridge has been hit (by buses and trucks) a couple of hundred times before. Jack Aston has only done what people have done before, and he’s been absolutely buried for it’.   

Aston penned an emotional letter to his former employer, Gold Bus Ballarat, saying the prison system has tried to destroy his self esteem, self respect and morals.

The company has supported Aston and his family since the crash, covering court costs and visiting their former driver in jail. 

'Jack's grouped with all those sorts of people, like he's up there in jail with people who have murdered people,' his wife Wendy (right) told A Current Affair

‘Jack’s grouped with all those sorts of people, like he’s up there in jail with people who have murdered people,’ his wife Wendy (right) told A Current Affair

Since the father-of-two was put in jail, his family, friends and the wider community have rallied together to form a 'Free Jack' movement, calling for his release.

Since the father-of-two was put in jail, his family, friends and the wider community have rallied together to form a ‘Free Jack’ movement, calling for his release. 

‘In prison, the system tries to take everything from me: my self respect, identity, morals, self esteem, self worth and principles,’ Aston wrote from jail. 

‘After almost six months in the Middleton Prison I know they will never take away my faith in people and my hope. The faith that I have in people is stronger now than it has ever been in good people. 

‘The generosity of you and your team at Gold Bus has been amazing. Gold Bus feels like a community to me, you all have the biggest hearts that I have known of. It feels like you remember what used to be good.’

Despite Aston having no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the crash, his sentence is tougher than a teenager who said he was ‘drunk as f**k’ when he mowed down revellers outside a Melbourne pub.  

Jack Aston drove the 3.8metre bus into the Montague Street bridge in Melbourne - which had a clearance of three metres - in February 2016

Jack Aston drove the 3.8metre bus into the Montague Street bridge in Melbourne – which had a clearance of three metres – in February 2016

Dieu Atem, 20, was sentenced earlier this month to five years – three months shy of Aston’s sentence – over the September 2018 incident, which ended in a teenage victim’s leg being amputated. 

More than 200 teens had congregated at the Gasometer Hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood for a rap music gig when Atem, drunk and concussed, drove his car into the crowd. 

The South Sudanese national – who is in Australia on a humanitarian visa – pleaded guilty to five charges, including reckless conduct endangering life and driving without a licence.

The sentencing judge said Atem ‘drove backwards and forwards up and down the street in a manner in which could kill someone’.

Aston's injured passengers believe his sentence was too severe, and have joined the campaign to free him

Aston’s injured passengers believe his sentence was too severe, and have joined the campaign to free him

Party-goer David Dada, then 18, was crushed between Atem’s car and another vehicle. 

Despite multiple surgeries following the horrific incident, doctors were left with no option but to amputate the teenager’s right leg.

Atem and his male passenger took off from the scene on foot, before police arrested him several hours later.

Atem consumed a large amount of alcohol throughout the night, and he had never even been behind the wheel of a car before. 

The South Sudanese national could be out of prison in 2021, after being handed a non-parole sentence of just three years.  

An appeal of Aston’s sentence will be heard in early October. 

An appeal of Jack Aston's sentence will be heard in early October. His wife Wendy Aston, daughter Meg Aston and son Ben Aston, are seen ralling against his sentence

An appeal of Jack Aston’s sentence will be heard in early October. His wife Wendy Aston, daughter Meg Aston and son Ben Aston, are seen ralling against his sentence

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.