A Geraldton man who indecently assaulted a woman and made sexual gestures towards her has been given a suspended jail sentence. Charles Reid Collard appeared in Geraldton Magistrates Court from custody, facing charges of indecent assault, indecent acts in public, and another charge of common assault. On April 4 2022, Collard had followed a woman into a Coles store in Northgate Shopping Centre. He attempted to talk to the woman, and when she attempted to walk away from him he pulled his arm out and attempted to hug her, before then groping her buttocks. No more than 40 minutes later, Collard stood in front of a woman in Bright Eyes optical store and rubbed his pants for 20 seconds and thrusted towards her, before putting his hand in his pants. “It has no doubt traumatised the victim and witnesses in this matter,” Sgt Gray said. Collard has previously been charged and imprisoned for indecent assault, prompting Sgt Gray to add “purely on his history of this type of offending, imprisonment has already been given previously and should be considered here.” In another incident on 27 January 2022, Collard head-butted a guard at the Wintersun Hotel three times before he was arrested. Collard has been in prison for more than a year for other offences and lawyer Andrew Wadham asked Magistrate Angus Hockton not to sentence him to an immediate term of imprisonment, as Collard suffers from schizophrenia. Mr Wadham said custody would worsen his condition rather than discourage him from offending in the future. “He’s not well, it’s something he is going to live with for the rest of his life,” Mr Wadlam said. “Imprisonment has been extremely difficult for him, difficult for his mental health.” Sgt Gray said Collard could be a threat to the community if not imprisoned. “Mr Collard is in a controlled environment, my question is what will happen if he isn’t in a controlled environment?” he said. “There needs to be a consideration for the safety of the community.” Magistrate Hockton decided to give Collard a suspended sentence of 12 months due to Collard’s mental illness and early plea of guilt.