Bushfire ‘hero’ is jailed over sickening broad daylight attack at Bondi Beach that horrified families and left man permanently disfigured after he was hit with bats
Sydney man Mohammedan who was hailed a hero for raising money for bushfire victims has been jailed over his role in a brutal bashing of a man at Bondi Beach.
Belal Shmait, from Western Sydney, was sentenced to two years and eight months behind bars at Downing Centre District Court on Friday.
The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm after violently beating roof tiler Michael Nicholas and leaving him disfigured in an incident in February 2017.
The court heard Shmait and three other men assaulted Nicholas using poles they found in a bin because the victim had allegedly ‘jumped’ one of the men a year earlier.
Footage of the incident showed the gang wielding what appeared to be nail-studded bats as a shirtless Nicholas scrambled to avoid his attackers on a popular ‘grassy knoll’ spot.
The attack left Nicholas with injuries so severe he required plastic surgery to his face and lost sensation in his forehead.
Shmait had told the court he did not take part in the brawl – a claim that was rejected by the judge, The Daily Telegraph reported.
He was jailed for four years but will be eligible for parole in two years and eight months.
Months earlier, Shmait and three friends had been praised nationally as heroes for their bushfire relief efforts.
Jawad Nabouche, Talal Kanj, Belal Shmait and Huseyin Jasli became overnight heroes when they travelled to the bushfire-ravaged down of Willawarrin in December.
After seeing the devastation on the NSW Mid North Coast, they drove 450km from Auburn in Sydney to the town of Willawarrin, west of Port Macquarie.
After the more than five-hour journey, the Muslim men put on a free barbecue to lift the spirits of locals and feed those who lost everything.
Days later they returned for a second cookout, armed with 30kg of sausages and meat, bread rolls, and 30 boxes of water.
‘It’s the least we can do, to try help the community and help everybody up here and put a smile on everybody’s faces,’ Mr Nabouche told the ABC.
‘We can’t fight fires but we can put a barbecue on.’
Locals ‘adopted’ the quartet and expressed their gratitude at the incredible lengths they went to just to help complete strangers.
Others in Australia’s Muslim community have also stepped up, organising massive donation efforts and bringing much-needed supplies to hard-hit areas.