Prosecution service criticised after dropping Portsmouth car vandalism case

Paul Hartley with his wife's car which was targeted in the attack ''Picture: Miles O'Leary
Paul Hartley with his wife's car which was targeted in the attack ''Picture: Miles O'Leary
A CCTV image of the charity box thief

CCTV catches dopey charity box thief on camera

  • More than 23 cars had tyres slashed in Christmas Eve spree
  • Man was charged with criminal damage and appeared in court twice
  • But prosecution service offered no evidence and the case was dismissed
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VICTIMS of tyre-slashing spree involving more than 20 cars have told of their anger after prosecutors dropped a court case.

A man was charged with 23 counts of criminal damage in relation to the damage on Christmas Eve last year in Salisbury Road and Festing Road.

It’s so annoying, I feel let down by the system

Marcus Kerridge-McColl

But when prosecutor Yasmin Hall opened the case against Khalsa Singh at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court she offered no evidence – forcing the bench to dismiss the case.

One victim shouted as he left court, saying the case was a ‘joke’, and called out to magistrates, saying: ‘You call this justice?’

Victim Marcus Kerridge-McColl, 45, of Festing Road, had his car damaged.

He told The News: ‘It’s a farce. They’ve told us all along they’ve got someone.

‘I find it ridiculous and annoying. The concerns are that somebody is going to do it again. It’s so annoying. I feel let down by the system.’

Both Mr Kerridge-McColl and his wife Alison, 45, had their vehicles damaged, and it cost about £200 to replace the tyres.

Her father was seriously ill at the time and the pair had to keep a car ready in case of emergency.

Paul and Sheena Hartley, of Festing Road, also had their cars damaged.

It cost the pair £350 to replace the tyres.

Mrs Hartley said it was wrong nobody had been convicted for the damage, and added: ‘I’d like to know that a person had been deterred at least from maybe doing it again. I suppose it’s about natural justice really and I don’t think that’s been served.’

Two tyres were damaged on Mrs Hartley’s car and one on Mr Hartley’s.

He offered police his CCTV but the force said his system had a technical problem and officers couldn’t take the footage, which may not have shown the offence.

Mr Hartley said he had sympathy with Mr Singh, adding: ‘They’ve kept this guy hanging on for six months just to drop the case.’

A spokeswoman for Wessex Crown Prosecution Service said it could not say why the case had been dropped until all victims had been told.

Hampshire police has said it will not reopen the case unless significant new evidence comes to light.

A spokesman said: ‘At the moment there is not any that would allow us to pursue any new lines of enquiry. If anyone does believe they have any new evidence we would urge them to contact us so we can assess it.’

Accused was in court twice before charges dropped

MAGISTRATES dismissed the case brought against the man over damages to the cars.

Khalsa Singh, 30, of Salisbury Road, was charged with 23 counts of criminal damage, which were dismissed.

It means the trial did not go ahead and Mr Singh is innocent.

At Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court prosecutor Yasmin Hall said: ‘The crown is not going to be offering any evidence on any of the charges and invite the court to dismiss the matters.’

Chairman of the bench Annette Burgess said: ‘The prosecution is offering no evidence so we’re going to dismiss your case.’