Cases of children being indecently assaulted are traumatic for all who may be involved and can affect the child at the centre of such an ordeal long after the issue has been resolved. With more incidents of children being taken and indecently assaulted becoming increasingly common across the country, parents hold genuine concerns for their children. Officials warn parents to really keep an eye out for their children, whether it be near their family home or simply out shopping. These tragic incidents can happen within the blink of eye, in seconds!

In one case where the Prime Minister Scott Morrison describes as “sickening and appalling”, A security guard at DFO Shopping Centre, in Sydney, Al Bayati faced trial in the NSW District Court this year, where he was found guilty of taking/detaining with intent to obtain advantage, committing an act of indecency with a victim under 10 years old, and indecently assaulting a person under the age of 16. He has been jailed for four and a half years with a non-parole period of two and a half years.

Judge John Pickering branded the crime “every parent’s worst nightmare”.


It was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald that the girl, who cannot be named, was playing at DFO Homebush with her sister on December 18, 2016 while her mother shopped for Christmas presents.

Mohammed Hassan Al Bayati, 30, received a report of a lost child and was captured on CCTV walking into the play area and kneeling down as he spoke to the girl.

He waited as she sat down to put her shoes on, then grabbed her hand just after 1.22pm and led her down a secluded corridor and into a set of fire stairs where he exposed his penis and touched her underpants. The pair disappeared for more than 11 minutes before the girl was brought back.

Judge Pickering stated that

“Any mother should be entitled to leave their children in a busy shopping centre and not have any belief or expectation that someone who is actually there to look after the interests of people shopping in the centre will then create harm.”

The girl made a complaint to her father later that day, referring to a “police man” and “bum bum”, while the pair were walking the family dog.

Al Bayati, an Iraqi refugee who came to Australia by boat a decade ago, continues to deny he assaulted the girl.

In a lengthy police interview, he said he told the girl “come with me, I’ll take you to your mum” and was in the stairwell for two to three minutes as the pair walked up the stairs then turned back.

He asked if there was any footage of him “doing it” and asked a detective, “why would I do that for?” “Just check my phone, see how many girls I have,” he said.

Judge Pickering outlined traumatic incidents in Al Bayati’s childhood – including being kidnapped by terrorists, seeing someone beheaded, and having the boat to Australia almost sink – and said the offender clearly risked his future in Australia by committing the offence.

Al Bayati will be eligible for parole in July 2021 with time served.


Al Bayati was charged with an act of indecency. An indecent act is one which right minded persons would consider to be contrary to community standards of decency. For example:

  • Exposing yourself in front of a child or in public;
  • Sexting a naked photo of yourself to another person; or
  • Pretending to perform a sexual act on another person.


Section 61N of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which states;

(1) Any person who commits an act of indecency towards a person under the age of 16 years or incites a person under that age to an act of indecency is liable to imprisonment for 2 years.

(2) Any person who commits an act of indecency with or towards a person of the age of 16 years or above, or incites a person of the age of 16 years or above to an act of indecency with or towards that or another person, is liable to imprisonment for 18 months.

To read more about the offence of act of indecency, click here.


Indecent assault is assault in circumstances of indecency. It is characterised as a sex crime and has significant overlap with offences referred to as sexual assault. For example:

  • An unwanted kiss;
  • The smallest of touches or contact including touching in the course of ordinary everyday life
  • The intentional touching of breasts, anus, vagina or penis; Or
  • Rubbing your groin against a person for example on a busy bus when the other person has not given consent


The Law in relation to Indecent Assault is found in section 61L Crimes Act 1900(NSW) which states;

“Any person who assaults another person and, at the time of, or immediately before or after, the assault, commits an act of indecency on or in the presence of the other person, is liable to imprisonment for 5 years”.

To read more about the offence of indecent assault, click here.


The offence of Sexual Act replaced the offence of Act of Indecency and Indecent Assault in NSW since 1 December 2018. However, a person can still be charged with Act of Indecency if the alleged conduct occurred prior to this date.


Sexual touching is an offence under section 61KC of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). This offence was introduced in 2018 and replaced most of the older offence of Indecent Assault. There are some significant differences, one being that the new offence of sexual touching no longer requires proof of indecency and the maximum penalty for the offence is two years in the Local Court and five years imprisonment in the District Court.


To prove the offence, the prosecution must show beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • A person sexually touches another person or provokes someone else to;
  • There is no consent; and,
  • The person knows the alleged victim does not consent.


If you or anyone you know is charged with this offence and need legal advice, contact National Criminal Lawyers to book a free consultation!

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