April 2009

Sex offender promised jail given community order instead

A 49-year-old man told he would go to prison by a judge for sexually assaulting a teenage girl has been given three years probation.

Robert Caruana was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on Monday for two sexual assaults as well as two common assaults on police.

Caruana, of Lea Close, Bushey, admitted the charges earlier this year and Judge Michael Baker had warned he faced prison, regardless of the outcome of an initial pre-sentence report requested by the defence.

Judge Baker had said: “This is a custodial case at the end of the day. I am prepared to adjourn for psychiatric reports, but I don’t want you to be under any misapprehension.”

Caruana’s defence said alcohol was behind all his offending and that since release from custody on bail he had stopped drinking and was trying to turn his live around.

Sentencing had been adjourned more than once for further reports into Caruana, at the request of the defence.

And after assessing all the material into the defendant, including an addendum to a psychiatric report, Judge Baker altered his opinion and agreed with probation’s recommendation to impose an order in the community.

Caruana will be supervised by probation for three years and must carry out programmes to address his offences.

He must sign on the sex offenders register for five years and is automatically banned from working with children.