A judge has spoken out in anger and disbelief after a dad was charged with kidnap after trying to make a bully apologise to his sons.
Judge Peter Bowers questioned why Kevin Moore, 44, was charged with the serious offence, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, after such a minor incident.
Mr Moore snapped after a group of teenagers began name-calling and throwing berries as his two young sons and a group of other children were attending a dance class inside a church hall.
Teesside Crown Court heard how he was arrested after taking one of the teenagers to apologise to the group of children for being abusive and aggressive.
Mr Moore had pursued the 13-year-old and put him in his car before driving him a short distance to a church hall where the younger children were attending a dancing class.The teenager, who had not struck anyone, apologised and returned to join his friends.
At a hearing in August, Judge Peter Bowers said after reading an outline of the case: 'Can I be like Victor Meldrew and say: "I don't believe it?".'
He said Moore's conduct was, at worst, behaviour that could have caused alarm to others, and asked for a review of the case by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Yesterday, two hearings later, the CPS accepted a guilty plea to a much-reduced charge of common assault, and Moore was given an 18-month conditional discharge.
Judge Bowers ordered the Mr Moore, from Saltburn, east Cleveland, to pay £250 compensation, but added: 'I am not going to make you pay any costs because this was not what anyone would really call a kidnapping.'
Senior prosecutor Jolyon Perks said the charge was 'academically correct' but accepted the plea for common assault.
The case is thought to have run up a bill of thousands of pounds and prosecutors were accused of not using common sense.
After the case, Mr Moore said. 'All I ever wanted was an apology for everyone.
'I admitted I got a bit over the top and irate, but I was not flying off the handle.'
Mr Perks told the court that the 'kidnapped' teenager was distressed by the incident on July 5 in Redcar.
One witness called the police because they thought the boy was being kidnapped.
Mr Sabiston said: 'This was no more than a concerned parent, perhaps over-reacting and grabbing hold of the child.'
He added: 'It is one of those matters where perhaps society years ago would have taken a different view.
'It is a tragedy for everybody that this has ended up at the crown court.'
Judge Bowers told Mr Moore it was a shame it had taken so long for the kidnap charge to be change, but warned him to control his temper.
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