14 February 2023

Bail for man accused of trying to groom 12-year-old at Gungahlin Bus Interchange

| Albert McKnight
Man leaving court

Abhijeet Singh Dhadda, 32, was granted bail on Monday over an alleged incident in Gungahlin. Photo: Albert McKnight.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses alleged grooming.

A 12-year-old boy was waiting at the Gungahlin Bus Interchange with his young friends when it is alleged a man approached and tried to groom him, including asking the boy to go home with him, and then pushed a woman away when she tried to intervene.

After Abhijeet Singh Dhadda was charged with what prosecutor David Leggett alleged to be brazen and prolonged offending against a child in public, the 32-year-old was granted bail by the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (13 February).

The boy had been waiting with his friends, also in their early teens, at the bus interchange on Sunday (12 February) when it is alleged Dhadda approached him, called him “sexy” and said words to the effect of, “come on the bus with me to my house” and “come on bus 22 with me to Harrison”.

It is alleged in court documents that Dhadda repeatedly touched the boy over his body and tried to hold him, even though the boy tried to push him away and told him to stop several times.

Two women tried to stop Dhadda from approaching the children, but he pushed one, the documents allege.

READ ALSO 219 units planned for Casey, but how will the roads cope?

The children eventually boarded a bus, leaving the man alleged to be Dhadda behind, and went to the police that afternoon.

Police arrested him at the interchange a couple of hours later, saying he smelled like alcohol and needed help standing up.

He was charged with attempted grooming, assault and committing an act of indecency.

When applying for bail, his Legal Aid lawyer Ewan Small said he had a limited criminal history, worked full-time in labouring, and noted that court documents alleged he had been intoxicated at the time.

Magistrate James Lawton agreed with Mr Small when he said bail conditions could ameliorate any risks.

READ ALSO What’s new about the ACT’s proposed rules for the pool?

Bail, which the prosecutor had opposed, was granted with conditions including he not to be within 100 metres of the Gungahlin Bus Interchange and an alcohol-use condition.

“That really means you’ve just got to stop drinking. You better start sobering up right now,” Magistrate Lawton told Dhadda.

The matter was adjourned to 7 March. No pleas were entered.

Weekly Wrap

Do you want to keep up with what’s happening in Gungahlin? Every week we package up the best stories in a free newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up now and find out what everyone else is talking about.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.