Woman assaulted City of Yarra councillor in ‘trauma response’, court told

Woman assaulted City of Yarra councillor in ‘trauma response’, court told

July 19, 2022

A woman assaulted a City of Yarra councillor outside a Melbourne nightclub as part of a “trauma response” to allegedly having her hair pulled and hearing transphobic insults, a court has heard.

Cr Anab Mohamud and Al Shaba Bin Taha were both charged over an altercation outside Chasers Nightclub in South Yarra about 3.40am on April 11 last year, which police allege escalated when the Greens councillor grabbed the other woman’s hair. Police allege Mohamud also made offensive comments.

Al Shaba Bin Taha outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.Credit:Scott McNaughton

Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday heard Taha and a friend were in the club’s smoking area when Mohamud, who was with a friend outside the club on Bray Street, tried to engage in conversation with Taha.

When Taha refused to engage, the court heard, Mohamud allegedly reached through the metal bars separating the smokers’ area from the street and grabbed Taha’s hair.

Police say Taha left the club to chase Mohamud along a street and then repeatedly punched her in the face. Mohamud suffered severe bruising to the face and eyes, the court heard.

Taha, 29, is charged with two counts of affray and one of recklessly causing injury. Her lawyer, Sarah Abell, applied to the court for her client to be put on the diversion program, where first-time offenders can avoid a criminal record if they accept responsibility for their wrongdoing.

City of Yarra councillor Anab Mohamud.

Abell said Taha was a trans woman from Malaysia who had been assaulted in the past because of her identity. She said Taha was sorry and remorseful for what she did, but the “assault was a trauma response to having her hair pulled”.

The lawyer said a witness who worked at the nightclub had seen the initial interaction between the pair and described the remarks directed at Taha as “incredibly homophobic and transphobic” and said Mohamud’s group had acted aggressively.

Taha is undergoing counselling, the court heard.

Taha was in court on Tuesday as magistrate Alexandra Burt deferred a decision on the diversion application, pending seeing the accused woman’s psychological report.

Mohamud’s injuries.Credit:Victorian Greens/ Anab Mohamud

Taha, who is on bail, will return to court on October 6.

Mohamud, 35, is charged with unlawful assault, being drunk in a public place, and behaving in an offensive manner.

She is on bail and has indicated she will contest her charges in a three-day hearing before a magistrate starting on October 18.

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