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Backlash over attack on elderly man

Last updated 18:28 01/03/2014

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Two young women charged with the serious assault of a vision-impaired 77-year-old on a Gold Coast bus have faced court.

Lana Janet Watmough, 21, and Layni Gloria Cameron, 17, faced Southport Magistrates Court on Saturday on charges of assault and public nuisance.

The NSW pair handed themselves into police after footage of the incident showing them bashing and racially vilifying Paul Buttigieg, 77, went viral.

News Limited is reporting that the females have received death threats in the scourge of public backlash.

Ms Watmough, whose father was in the courtroom, was granted bail and will return to court on April 23.

Ms Cameron wept as she was brought into the dock and no application for bail was made during her brief appearance.

The 17-year-old's family including her parents, waved to her as she was led back into the cells.

Ms Cameron will also return to court on April 23, although her lawyer said she will make a final decision on whether to apply for bail after further consultation with her parents.

A video, filmed by a 13-year-old girl on the bus at Kirra on Tuesday, allegedly shows the blonde and brunette, punching, kicking and spitting at the man.

One of the women can also be heard allegedly saying to the victim: "Oh bro, we're in Abo land."

Despite the racial overtone, the victim later said that he did not identify as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

After the assault, the elderly man can be heard telling other passengers that he couldn't see his attackers because he was partially blind.

The victim, also from NSW, made a statement to police on Friday and said he wanted to pursue the matter.

Many Australians have expressed disgust at the attack, which follows a string of similar incidents on public transport in Australia that have been filmed and gone viral.

In June, NSW Police charged a 55-year-old woman after she was caught on camera racially vilifying an Asian schoolboy on a bus in Burwood in April.

Another video shows a pregnant woman being called a "fat slut" after she asked a Perth train passenger to move her bags so she could sit down.

In November 2012, a French woman on a Melbourne bus was told to "speak English or die" by a man who also threatened to cut her breasts off.

- AAP with Brisbane Times

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