25p banana 'theft' case costs Brit taxpayers 20,000 pounds!

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London, August 8 (ANI): A court in England let a man go scot-free after over 20,000 pounds were wasted prosecuting him over the "theft" of a 25p Banana.

A jury heard that James Gallagher, 23, was caught grabbing the banana off a table by security men at the Del Villaggio restaurant in Birmingham.

Even though the man and his mate offered to hand over 25p for the fruit, the guards called the police and the case went to the Crown Prosecution Service, who recommended that both men should be charged with burglary and theft.

Pal Christopher Oglesby, 22, admitted burglary and was given a conditional discharge by magistrates.

However, James wanted to plead not guilty, and thus refused the matter be dealt with by magistrates.

The case finally ended up as a full-blown trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

After a two-day case, a jury on Friday took less than 30 minutes to clear him.

"This trial has theoretically cost 20,000 pounds," the Sun quoted Recorder Shamim Qureshi as having told the jury.

James, of Handsworth, Birmingham, said afterwards: "The whole thing has been a waste of taxpayers' money. I don't understand it. It was only a banana."

The CPS, however, insisted that they had acted in the "public interest".

A spokesman said: "It is not the cost of the item that determines whether we proceed with a prosecution. In this case we felt that there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest." ANI)

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