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Nabi pleads innocence; hearing in Apr

The bail of the Indian masseur, facing trial in a court on charges of indecent assault at the C'wealth, was extended.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 16:56 IST

The bail of Indian masseur Dewan Asgar Nabi, facing trial in a local court on charges of indecent assault, was on Friday extended and the next trial was fixed for early next month.

Nabi, a part of the Indian Commonwealth contingent, appeared in the local court and denied the charges while requesting for an early trial.

The 35-year-old pleaded that he had a family to support and told the Melbourne Magistrate Court that in his absence there would be hardships back home.

His lawyer Thomas Danos said he needed more time to prepare Dewan's defence because he had not received some witness statements and the police interview with Dewan had also not been transcribed.

Danos said Nabi had a wife and child and a government job in India and was "extremely keen and anxious" to get back to them.

While hearing his defence, Magistrate Paul Smith fixed April 4-5 as the next dates for trial.

Nabi, a masseur attached to NIS, Patiala, was accused of attempting to hug, kiss and fondle a 16-year-old girl volunteer when she came to his room for housekeeping on Monday, two days before the Games began.

After an inquiry, in which the girl identified Nabi, Victoria Police charged the Indian on one count of indecent assault and one count of unlawful assault.

The charges, if proved, carry a maximum of two years of imprisonment.

Dewan's passport has been confiscated and he has also been expelled from the Games Village.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 16:19 IST