June 19 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, June 28, 2012
A MAN who has been found guilty of assault after taking a teenager by the shoulder and making him clear up glass he had smashed outside his home says the verdict “sends the wrong message to people”.
Craig Finlayson, 41, of Badgers Close in Stevenage, was found guilty of assault at Hertford Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
A Herts Police spokesman said: “He had gone to approach a lad who had broken glass and, when he refused to clean it up, he grabbed him and took him to clear it up.”
Mr Finlayson was fined £525 and ordered to pay £50 compensation to the teenager and £620 in court costs.
He said: “It just sends the wrong message to people. Hooligans can just do what they want and get away with it. It’s a miscarriage of justice. My neighbours are all up in arms because they saw what happened.”
Describing what happened on March 3, the day of the incident, Mr Finlayson said: “I was standing at the window with my wife and kids and I saw a youth kicking glass round the street. I asked him to clean it up and he ran off.
“I jumped in my car and went round the block. I jumped out of the car and grabbed hold of him and told him to clean the glass up. I marched him back down the road and made him clean the glass up.
“I thought I was doing the right thing. I have got my kids to think of, and my neighbours.”
Mr Finlayson said the police were called by the teenager’s girlfriend and Mr Finlayson was arrested.
“I don’t dispute what happened and that I made him clean up the glass, but I think I was entitled to do what I did,” he said.
“I think it’s ridiculous that the system has gone against me. It’s not going to stop me standing up to people, but I think it will put other people off. It shouldn’t have happened. It’s just over the top. It’s ridiculous. Society has gone a bit too soft these days.
“In the old days, when I did something wrong, I would be marched back to my dad, who I was more scared of than the police.”
Mr Finlayson, who said he stopped an armed robbery in a petrol station a number of years ago, said he is considering making an appeal, but is concerned that it may land him with further court costs.
“I want to appeal, but there is a risk,” he said.
A Herts Police spokesman said: “We acknowledge the role communities play in challenging unacceptable behaviour, as long as they don’t put themselves in any danger or take action that is not appropriate or reasonable in the circumstances.
“A thorough investigation was carried out and a number of independent witnesses were spoken to at the time. In this case, after all the evidence was reviewed, the decision was made that he used excessive force amounting to a charge of common assault and he was subsequently found guilty at court for this.”