A LAKENHEATH man convicted of indecently assaulting a schoolgirl has narrowly avoided being sent to prison.
Jonathan Trett, 45, had denied two offences but in June was found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.
Sentencing him on August 2, Judge John Holt said that the offending had been on the verge of justifying immediate custody but because of Trett’s lack of previous convictions he was able to instead impose a community order.
Judge Holt told Trett: “The explanation seems to me that this was probably opportunistic grooming that went no further.”
Defending, Jonathan Goodman said that Trett, who had an “exemplary” previous character, still maintained his innocence despite the verdict of the jury.
A pre-sentence report prepared by the Probation Service said that Trett was considered to pose a very low risk of further offending, Mr Goodman told the court.
During a four-day trial, Trett had been accused of twice sexually assaulting the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, while she was visiting his house at Highfield, Lakenheath, on June 12 last year.
Giving evidence during the trial via a video link the girl alleged that first incident had taken place in a bedroom where Trett had asked her to give him a cuddle while he was wearing only a pair of shorts.
The girl, said Trett had touched her from behind around her breast area.
Later Trett had placed his hands on her bottom as she stood in the kitchen and kissed her on the lips, the girl alleged.
Trett denied having engineered a situation to ensure that the girl visited his house.
Judge Holt told Trett he would be under Probation Service supervision for six months, have to complete 150 hours of unpaid community work and sign on the Sexual Offenders Register.