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'Budgie Nine' let off by Malaysia Court

AAP logoAAP 5/10/2016 Lauren Farrow

Locked up for four days for flashing Malaysian flag budgie smugglers at the country's Grand Prix, nine Australian men stood handcuffed in front of a judge and apologised for their misguided "folly".

Judge Harith Sham said regardless of their intention, the men had disrespected Malaysia by displaying the country's national flag on their buttocks and he hoped their arrest and detention would be a reminder about respecting the culture and customs of Malaysia.

He cautioned them and released them without conviction.

In a public apology read out to court, the group of well-to-do professionals all aged in their 20s said they too had a fondness of their country's flag.

But because of "cultural differences" the way this was displayed back home in Australia was "quite different".

Their Malaysian counsel Shafee Abdullah said the men - some of them lifesavers - didn't "blink an eye" when baring the swimming briefs and were ignorant of how offensive this would be deemed in the conservative southeast Asian nation.

On Australia Day, Mr Abdullah told the court, people were "encouraged" to sport bikinis and swimmers with the national flag.

"They have spent four nights in a 'not very friendly lock-up'", he added.

"I think they would have learned their lesson more than enough."

Mr Abdullah said conservative Malaysians were "a bit upset" by the stunt.

"I think we have taken care of that with an unconditional apology," he said outside court.

During their appearance, one of the men, Thomas Whitford, collapsed and had to be assisted by his co-accused Jack Walker - a staffer of Australian's Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne.

The men - who also included Branden Stobbs, Edward Leaney, Nicolas Kelly, Thomas Laslett, James Paver, Adam Pasfield and Timonthy Yates - all pleaded guilty to being a public nuisance.

The group said nothing as they walked to two separate cars.

It is expected that they will try and leave Malaysia as soon as possible.

Speaking outside court, Mr Abdullah said there had been a misunderstanding that they had stripped down to their knickers.

"It's not underwear, it's swimming trunks," he told reporters.

"That would be no concern at all in most countries."

Jack Walker's father John Walker said they would go home and "resume their lives".

"We are just relieved the boys are out of danger," he told reporters following the ruling.

The judgement comes days after police said the group could be charged with more serious offences, including public indecency that carries with it a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

In court, Mr Abdullah was keen to stress the good families the 'professionals' had come from, saying there were engineers, political aids, successful businessmen and managers of companies.

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