Malaysian Court Returns Verdict On "Budgie Nine"
Nine Australian men arrested in Malaysia after stripping down to matching Malaysian flag budgie smugglers have escaped conviction after pleading guilty to public nuisance.
They left the court in Kuala Lumpur shortly after the judge cautioned them and discharged them without conviction.
The ruling was returned just moments after one of the men, Thomas Whitworth, collapsed in the dock, pulling down one of his co-accused, Jack Walker, who was handcuffed to him.
The nine Australian's hands were cuffed together. The men forming one snaking chain. An orchestra of camera clicks. #BudgieNine @9NewsAust— Airlie Walsh (@AirlieWalsh) October 6, 2016
One by one the men are being led from the cell and into the court. The men are cuffed in pairs. They stand in 1 long line before magistrate— Airlie Walsh (@AirlieWalsh) October 6, 2016
Three of the men's fathers are here for support. They stare intently ahead. Court hears the matter will be heard as one. @9NewsAUS— Airlie Walsh (@AirlieWalsh) October 6, 2016
Referring to the nine offending swimming trunks that were brought into court as evidence, their counsel Shafee Abdullah said the men had given him "strict instructions" to offer an apology to the public within a day of their arrest.
"My clients offered without reservations to apologise to the country, the people for this folly."
After Whitworth's collapse Mr Abdullah said the men had spent four nights in a "not very friendly lock-up".
"I think they would have learned their lesson more than enough."
He said the majority of the men volunteered as life savers.
"Stripping down or dressing down to swimming trunks comes almost second nature to them without even batting an eyelid," he said
The men were earlier on Thursday were taken from the cells up into Sepang handcuffed to each other in pairs and ordered to stand.
They had spent four nights in custody at the nearby police station.
AAP/ Staff Writers