No jail for indecent assault of woman, 88

RELATED COVERAGE: Court hears trial evidence

A ROCHESTER man found guilty of indecently assaulting an 88-year-old dementia patient in a northern Victoria nursing home has been given a two-year community corrections order.

Jon Edgar Hewitt, 64, was convicted last month of one charge of indecent assault following an incident in February 2012 where he rubbed the female victim's thigh from her knee to the top of her leg, causing her dress to bunch up.

Hewitt was found not guilty of a second charge of indecent assault which alleged he touched the woman's breast area while rubbing her arm later the same day.

During the trial, Judge Jane Patrick found Hewitt had no case to answer on a third indecent assault charge and discharged the jury from reaching a verdict.

On Friday, the Bendigo County Court heard plea material from Hewitt's defence lawyer Jo Swiney before Judge Patrick imposed her sentence.

Ms Swiney said her client suffered from badly-managed diabetes, was in stage four renal failure and had an ulcer on his foot which, if not treated appropriately, could result in amputation.

She said Hewitt's medical conditions meant a custodial sentence would be more onerous on him than on others, and argued the community would be better protected by him engaging with rehabilitative programs.

The court was told Hewitt had prior convictions for sexual assault.

It heard Hewitt was convicted of aiding and abeting another person to engage in the rape of a 15-year-old girl in 1995.

It also heard he pleaded guilty at Kerang County Court in 1998 to two charges of indecent assault and was sentenced to eight months in jail, to be served concurrently with a jail term already being served.

Ms Swiney said although it was conceded her client's criminal history was serious, she argued the present instance of indecent assault was at the lower end of the charge scale and asked the Judge to consider a community corrections order.

Following a favourable assessment by Corrections Victoria, Judge Jane Patrick ordered Hewitt complete a two-year community corrections order.