A 17-year-old from Afghanistan who sexually assaulted eight Australian females in two hours successfully escaped a prison sentence for his crimes on Wednesday.
The teenager was at Surfers Paradise beach on the Gold Coast on January 16 last year when he groped eight different bikini-clad women on their breasts, bottoms and genitals. Two of the victims were aged just 15, and the others ranged between 16 and 24.
The teen, who cannot be identified as he was a juvenile when he committed the offences, swam up to his victims "in quite a predatory manner" before initiating the groping, the Southport District Court heard.
When he was confronted by a lifeguard, he allegedly said "If I just say sorry, can we forget all about it?" before police arrived at the scene to apprehend him.
At sentencing on Wednesday, Judge David Kent said the teenager "indulged in behaviour which was essentially groping … essentially touching private parts", and that it was unacceptable.
However, he said it was clear he had grown up in a different cultural environment in Afghanistan, and was likely still affected mentally by his father's death in 2011.
The teen was initially trialled as an adult as he had no birth records from his home country.
He pleaded guilty to nine charges of sexual assault and three of common assault, and was sentenced to two years' probation. He received no conviction for his offences.