The Magistrate’s Court heard how Helder Manuel Fernando Baptista (42) attacked the woman by pushing, slapping and throwing water in her face. The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of common assault and was found guilty after trial of three further common assault charges.
Delivering the sentence, the Magistrate, Bridget Shaw, said the offences had crossed the custody threshold but, due to his previous good character, she spared Baptista jail and ordered him to serve 130 hours’ community service, pay £800 in costs and made him subject to a five-year restraining order.
Legal adviser Carla Carvalho, prosecuting, told the court that in a separate incident, the defendant wrapped a towel around the victim’s neck when he was standing behind her. The court heard that the action did not cause restriction to her breathing. He also grabbed her arms causing some bruising.
Advocate Julian Gollop, defending, said his client had never been in court before and the assaults were isolated incidents. The lawyer argued that the offences did not reach the custody threshold.
However, Mrs Shaw disagreed, but decided against imposing a prison sentence. She added: ‘You are a man of previous good character but there was a change in this case.
‘You put a towel around her neck… and she was terrified. This is a serious matter that has passed the custody threshold, but you have not been in trouble before and I will deal with it through community service instead of immediate custody.’