A sex offender convicted of assaulting a woman with intent to rape her escaped prison after his victim begged a sheriff to show mercy.
Matuesz Chojnacki was spared a jail sentence after his victim wrote to the judge to ask him not to cage her attacker.
At Livingston Sheriff Court on Tuesday, Sheriff Douglas Kinloch told the 31-year-old Polish national that a custodial sentence would normally follow such a serious sexual conviction. A jury found him guilty as charged after the woman – who can’t be named for legal reasons – told how he repeatedly pushed her on the body and made sexual threats towards her during a row.
He removed his lower clothing and tried to remove her lower clothing and underwear in a bid to have sex with her. The woman said he exposed her naked breasts when he partially removed her top.
Sheriff Kinloch told him: “Your solicitor says that this was a short-lived incident where you lost control of your emotions in the heat of the moment. It was an incident which the complainer was able to defuse verbally without the use of any force.
“You broke down in tears during the incident and demonstrated considerable remorse the next day.”
He highlighted that Chojnacki was working, had no previous convictions of a similar nature and had never served a prison sentence.
He went on: “I have considered all these factors, but they’re not sufficient in my view for you to avoid a prison sentence. However, I’ve been given a letter from the victim of the assault which she personally handed in to the court.
“In the letter she pleads that you should not be sent to prison – she says she wishes to rebuild her life with you after this disgraceful incident.
“Importantly, she says that if you were sent to prison it could affect the mental state of your young child.
“It’s only after anxious consideration that I’ve decided that this can properly be regarded as an exceptional case.
“I must have regard to the complainer’s views and the effect that a prison sentence could have on your child is something which in law I must also take into account.
“It’s also of importance that the intention which the jury found you had must have been very fleeting and short lived because the incident came to an abrupt end after a short time.”
He added: “I consider that the complainer’s letter, when added to the other factors in mitigation, brings this case just – and no more – below the custodial threshold.
“All of this means, in my view, that I can properly – in accordance with my duties to the public and to the victim – impose a non-custodial sentence. Nevertheless it will be a community sentence with the highest punishment element that I can impose.”
Sheriff Kinloch ordered Chojnacki, of High Street, Linlithgow, to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work within 12 months and put him under social work supervision for three years. He will be added to the sex offenders’ register for three years.