24 May 2006

Public Interest

Back in February parts of Plymouth saw a string of vandal attacks on bus stops which was reported here on 19 Feb and then again 22nd Feb. I heard nothing more on these attacks and I dont suppose for one minute anybody was ever caught and punished for the attacks. Its pretty clear that these sort of anti social attacks don't really come that high in police priorities - and its also clear that when the police do catch vandals then the Criminal (so called) justice system does not bother that much either.
So a nice little story from Portsmouth caught my eye today.
10-year-old convicted over bus stop damage ©Portsmouth.co.uk

A 10-year-old boy has been ordered to hand over his pocket money for nine months to help pay for the damage he caused to a bus stop. The vandal was hauled before magistrates in a private criminal action brought by fed-up bosses at Portsmouth bus firm First after prosecutors refused to take action, claiming the case was not in the public interest. But First managed to get a conviction against the youngster.First director Mike Smith said: 'The 10-year-old vandalised a bus shelter in Portsea Island by breaking the timetable case and he was caught red-handed doing it while mucking around with his friends. We have to let kids know they are not going to get away with it.'The youngster will now spend nine months handing over a total of £15 from his pocket money to the company to pay for some of the damage he caused.

Many will say that for £15 it wasn't worth the effort, but I am sure First wont see it that way. Its a shame there is no comment from the boys parents as to their sons behaviour. The biggest shame is that they had to go for a private criminal action as the case was not in the public interest. Seeing the state of the bus shelter after the attack I fail to see how it wasnt in the public interest.
It wasnt all good news for First in Portsmouth today though as this story shows!

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