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Driving instructor who assaulted pupils spared jail

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pix-image-7-133236755A 55-year-old driving instructor accused of inappropriate sexual behavior towards his pupils escaped immediate jail today.

Judge John Rogers QC gave the defendant a nine month prison sentence suspended for a year, and an additional three month curfew between 7pm and 7am. Also, he will not be allowed to act as a driving instructor with any lone woman in the next ten years.

Defendant Robert Delabertouche told a middle-aged woman that she had been a “naughty girl” and that he would put her over his knee and spank her. He was also accused of having put his hand on woman’s knees and asking personal and intimate questions. He suggested to one woman that they go to a villa in Spain.

The prosecution got a late complaint by a 21-year-old woman who told how he had put his arm around her while driving and threatened to ‘nibble her ear’ unless she stopped panicking behind the wheel.

Delabertouche denied inappropriately touching the women, but was convicted on eight of the ten charges against him.

The defendant denied all ten charges and has led a law-abiding life, including 16 years of exemplary behaviour in the army. He is married since 32 years and has three children.

Defender Gareth Roberts said “My client continues to assert that what he was doing was innocent, although upon reflection he accepts that he “overstepped the mark” and must be punished for it”. He accepted that the touching was a “massive breach of trust” since the women were not expecting anything other than learning how to drive. The defendant says it was touching over the clothing, which the women described as “creepy and inappropriate”.

The judge says he took into consideration the Delabertouche’s clean record and age, but that the number of offenses made a prison sentence necessary. However, the sentence was suspended.

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