A TEENAGER has escaped punishment for breaching his Asbo after a Sheriff said the case could breach his human rights.
Jamie Marshall was due to plead guilty to three breaches of his antisocial behavioural order.
But a lack of funding for his legal aid meant the charges were thrown out by Sheriff Nigel Morrison.
The judge ruled that the 19-year-old from Dalkeith, Midlothian, could not receive a fair trial under European human rights law.
The case was funded up to a limit of £485 but Mr Marshall’s lawyers said they had already run up a bill of £2,000 and wanted another £500 before they would continue.
Sheriff Morrison, sitting in Edinburgh Sheriff Court, decided to dismiss the complaint against Mr Marshall.
Mr Marshall, a father of two who admits to spending time in prison, received a letter from his lawyers telling him: “The Sheriff has taken the very exceptional step of agreeing that the [legal aid] regulations breach your human rights.
“Accordingly he dismissed this complaint against you.
“This means you cannot now be prosecuted for it. The Crown didn’t seek to appeal the decision and this is the end of that case.”
Mr Marshall admits his Asbo was imposed by Midlothian Council for “breaches of the peace” shortly after he left jail.
He was accused of six breaches of his Asbo, including breaking a curfew which required him to be at home between 9pm and 7am.
Mr Marshall said he had intended to plead guilty, on legal advice, to three of the charges.
But neighbours were angry to learn the teen had escaped punishment.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s a joke. What about other people’s human rights?
“He’s no angel, I’ll tell you that. He deserves to be in the jail.”
Another, who also wanted to remain anonymous, said: “He’s from a bad lot who I want nothing to do with.
“He doesn’t seem to think about human rights when he’s out causing bother.”
Mr Marshall is unrepentant and says he will now try to get the Asbo overturned because he says it is a “nightmare”.
“I’ll be taking this to the council to get it sorted because the Asbo is a nightmare,” he said.
“The police are harassing me. Every night for two years I’ve had police at the house, shining torches through the window usually after midnight, about 12.30am.
“It’s really stressful to know they’re out there lurking about – it made me and my mum fall out sometimes because it creates this weird atmosphere.
“But I’ll take matters further with the council and try and get them to drop the Asbo altogether – then I can make sure for definite that I’ve really won this decision.”
Mr Marshall also claimed the Asbo was interfering with him being a father.
“I’ve got two sons – one’s a year old and the other is a month old,” he said.
“I work at a scaffolding company so that I can provide for the boys and my girlfriend, Nicole. But my work means I need to leave the house at 5am. The police always seem to be waiting for me to give me into bother and I think ‘Give me a break, I’m just going to work’.”
His mother, Sadie, 48, said: “I’m glad the charges have been dropped. It wasn’t fair that Jamie was given them in the first place because he shouldn’t even have got the Asbo.
“He went to prison for his crimes, accepted his punishment and got on with it.”
Sadie, a disabled mother-of-five with Jamie being her only son, claimed the council had given him a “second punishment”.
“As soon as Jamie got out, the council hit him with an Asbo,” she said.
A Crown Office spokeswoman said: “The Crown will give careful consideration as to whether to appeal the decision of the court.”
A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “According to our records the Asbo granted on 4 May 2011 is still in effect.”