MWI patient tried to rape a woman

A homeless man whose attempt to rape a woman was foiled by passers-by was sentenced to more than three years in prison yesterday.

Junius Caines, who has psychiatric problems, will also be under a supervision order for five years after his release.

Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons said in Supreme Court the justice system had been left in a difficult position without an obvious solution available.

She added: “The court must recognise the duty to protect the public and at the same time balance the interests of Mr Caines, who recognises that our criminal justice system and mental health system have curtailed the court’s ability to have Mr Caines treated in an approved programme in the community.”

The court heard that Caines’s victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was walking home in the early hours of August 6, 2016, when she saw the 49-year-old defendant acting strangely in Hamilton.

She crossed the street to avoid him, but he began to shout and follow her. The woman got to her home and went through the front door — but Caines grabbed her from behind and threw her to the ground. The court heard he told her: “I want to rape a white woman.”

A group of passers-by heard the noise and came to the woman’s aid, but Caines escaped.

The court heard the assault lasted less than a minute and the victim suffered only minor physical injuries, but also psychological injury.

Later that night, while still with police, the victim saw Caines. She pointed him out to officers, who promptly arrested him.

The court heard police attempted to interview Caines, but he “rambled nonsensically” and was later sent to the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

Cindy Clarke, deputy director of the Department of Public Prosecutions, said the case had moved slowly due to a question mark over Caines’s ability to plead and secure legal aid.

Caines pleaded guilty to a charge of serious sexual assault in July last year. The court heard Caines had previous convictions, some for violence, but had no previous convictions for sexual offences.

Ms Clarke asked for a sentence of between six and eight years, to be followed by a period of court-ordered supervision.

Saul Dismont, Caines’s defence lawyer, argued a suspended sentence and a period of probation would be more effective.

Mr Dismont said Caines was more likely to relapse and reoffend in prison than outside of it, provided that he was kept under strict supervision.

He said: “The piece that is essential for Caines is him taking his medication.

“There’s no way to force him to take his medication at Westgate unless there’s an emergency and he is seriously ill.

“If the court does put a suspended sentence in place, the consequence of him not taking his medication is that he would have to go back to prison.”

Mrs Justice Simmons said Caines was in a “precipitous position” and Mr Dismont was trying to prevent him falling through the cracks.

She said the starting point for sentencing should be five years and that Caines was entitled to a 30 per cent discount due to his guilty plea. Mrs Justice Simmons imposed a sentence of three years and four months.

She also ordered the sentence be followed by a supervision order that required him to take recommended treatment programmes.

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