A MAN who kicked a woman in the stomach and then pressured her to withdraw her statement to police has been jailed for three years.
The Royal Court heard yesterday that Roger James Baksa had denied the charges of grave and criminal assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice at his four-day trial in February, but had been found guilty by a jury of both offences.
Crown Advocate Rebecca Morley-Kirk, prosecuting, told the court that the assault took place in the victim’s home on in June.
She said: ‘He kicked her in the stomach and she ended up on the floor. Then he kicked her again.’
Baksa returned later that evening, apologising, the court heard.
The victim suffered severe stomach pains the following day and a doctor who examined her found a brown bruise on her lower abdomen, measuring seven centimetres by five centimetres, which could have been caused by ‘blunt force trauma’ such as a kick.
‘He believed it would have been inflicted by ‘moderate to severe force’.
There were also bruises to her arms.
Baksa was arrested on 18 June and denied the charge of grave and criminal assault.
He was released on bail after appearing at the Magistrate’s Court the following month, on condition that he have no contact with the victim. But he breached the condition by contacting her repeatedly, asking her to retract her statement, the court was told.
The Crown Advocate said some of his messages to the victim had been affectionate, while others threatened to humiliate her in court.
The advocate added that Baksa had a long history of previous convictions, including several for violence and for possession of a knuckle-duster, and was assessed at high risk of reconviction.
She recommended two years in prison for the grave and criminal assault and a further two years for attempting to pervert the course of justice. Advocate Chris Hillier, defending, said that Baksa was still protesting his innocence.
He pointed out that Baksa had already spent 258 days in custody and said: ‘My client has changed. He is accessing professional help.’
However, Baksa was sentenced to two years in prison for grave and criminal assault and one year for perverting the course of justice, the sentences to run consecutively.
Delivering the court’s sentence, Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae, presiding, said: ‘You assaulted a vulnerable woman and you knew of her vulnerability.
‘You did it in her own home, where she is entitled to feel safe.’
He added: ‘There was a sustained and deliberate campaign to pervert the course of justice, which almost succeeded.’
He said the Jurats had decided that one sentence should follow the other, explaining: ‘We are in no doubt that a consecutive sentence is warranted, and it would not be possible to justify a different approach.’
They also imposed a restraining order on Baksa, preventing him from contacting the victim for five years.
Jurats Jerry Ramsden and Gareth Hughes were sitting.