A man who caught a youth breaking into his garden shed successfully brought his own prosecution yesterday after police failed to act.
David Asher's 18-month fight for justice resulted in the boy, 14 at the time of the offence, being convicted of burglary with intent to steal. The district judge in the case described it as "unfortunate in the extreme" that the police had decided to take no action when faced with an implausible explanation by the suspect on the night.
Mr Asher, 49, a computer programmer, of Sable Crest, Bradford, West Yorks, managed to hang on to the intruder until police arrived despite being pelted with bricks by two accomplices. The boy was arrested, but several witnesses were never interviewed and statements in the case were not passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service.
When Mr Asher was told the suspect had been released because of insufficient evidence he demanded to know the youth's identity. He was told that they were prevented from doing so under the Data Protection Act until he managed to convince them they were wrong.
The youth, now 16, was finally dealt with at Bradford Youth Court yesterday when he denied the offence. He claimed that he had been taking a short cut through Mr Asher's garden and went into the shed to get out of the rain.
District Judge Roy Anderson imposed a six-month conditional discharge and ordered the boy's parents to pay 150 pounds towards costs.
(From January 23, 2003)