Charges dropped in citizens arrest case

PUBLISHED: 09:31 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:08 11 May 2010

Roland Digby

Roland Digby

A ROYSTON man who tackled yobs throwing apples at his house has hailed a victory for common sense after assault charges against him were dropped. Roland Digby, 49, was due to answer a charge of common assault at Stevenage Magistrates court today (Thursd

A ROYSTON man who tackled yobs throwing apples at his house has hailed a victory for "common sense" after assault charges against him were dropped.

Roland Digby, 49, was due to answer a charge of common assault at Stevenage Magistrates court today (Thursday) following an incident on September 3, in which he tried to make a citizen's arrest on one of the teenagers.

But on Tuesday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that all charges against the courier had been dropped.

When The Crow broke the news to Mr Digby, he said he was "pleased and relieved."

"Common sense has prevailed, it should never have got this far in the first place," he said.

"I think once it got into the public eye, any reasonable person could see that the charges against me were nonsense."

Mr Digby confronted the group of about 20 youths in Serby Avenue after they had thrown around 25 apples at his home, in Burns Road.

Having already phoned the police, he grabbed one of youths, and attempted to perform a citizen's arrest, putting him in a "full nelson."

He claims he did not hear from officers for another five days, until he was arrested and charged with assault.

Now the former manager of Bargain Booze off-licence has written letters of complaint to the Police Complaints Commission and the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire. He said he would continue to press for a full enquiry into the incident.

"I will always give the police a chance to do their job, but they did not do it properly in this case," he said.

When announcing that all charges had been dropped, David Robinson, the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Hertfordshire, said: "The CPS initially agreed with this charge after reviewing a summary of the evidence. Following a review of all of the evidence, the reviewing lawyer concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove that Mr Digby used unreasonable and excessive force or that he was acting unlawfully.

"Reasonable force can be used in self-defence, defence of property, prevention of crime or when making a lawful arrest.

"In the circumstances of this case, Mr Digby has a legitimate defence to the charge of assault. With this in mind, the CPS has concluded that there is no realistic prospect of conviction and discontinued the case," he said.

A spokesman for Herts Police said: "Taking legal action against any individual is a serious matter, and authorities have a responsibility to ensure that there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction or that the prosecution would be in the public interest.

"Hertfordshire Constabulary has a challenging responsibility to respond to incidents of nuisance behaviour which take many forms and often leaves victims frustrated or feeling disempowered. We take this responsibility extremely seriously and we will continue to work with individuals, communities and partners to resolve these incidents."

The spokesman added that officers had attended previous calls to Mr Digby's home, on August 31 and September 1, within eight minutes to deal with anti-social behaviour.

She also said that on the evening of September 3, officers were dispatched to investigate and "conducted an area search" looking for the youths.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Royston Crow. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Royston Crow