A Sydney man who posed as a fashion photographer and designer narrowly avoided jail last month after he pleaded guilty to 14 counts of indecent assaults on four models who he sexually violated during photo shoots.
Shardie Hourani (left), who worked as a photographer for four years for his swimwear fashion design business, was handed a 18-month suspended sentence at the Waverley Local Court for ‘serious examples of indecent assault’ which involved him touching models inappropriately. Initially he was going to spend the 18 months in prison but due to his guilty plea he was released on a good behaviour bond.
Hourani would approach models – usually aspiring young models – via his Facebook business page and propose a photo shoot.
The assaults date back to 2011 with the majority occurring between October 2014 and March 2015. Hourani exploited his position as a so-called photographer to grope females, which his lawyer, Wayne Pasterfield, said was simply just an attempt to adjust the clothing ‘and make the shoot sexy’. However the court heard that his assaults involved groping, kissing and laying on top of his victims.
Pasterfield argued that because none of the models ‘ran for the hills when he acted inappropriately’ and continued to work for him, the severity of the assault is diminished. However Magistrate Clare Farnan disagreed, stating he was well aware that touching women the way he was – without consent – was unprofessional.
‘No doubt they were vulnerable in the sense they wished to obtain work in what is no doubt a competitive industry,’ Magistrate Farnan said. ‘No young woman should be put in this position.’