Lord's moots private prosecution of Sachin stalker

Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2002, 21:17 [IST]
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London: The cricket establishment at Lord's is planning a private prosecution of Alistair Dobson, the Australian who has been released by the police without charge despite his invading the pitch at Lord's and accosting Sachin Tendulkar after his dismissal on Sunday.

Officials at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were said to be furious at the decision of the police which has severely affected their new "Keep off the Pitch" campaign. After meetings between ECB chief executive Tim Lamb and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) president Roger Knight, MCC announced that it was considering bringing a private prosecution. But there was no complaint from Tendulkar himself, who said on Monday that he wished no further action to be taken against Dobson. "He was not rude," the Indian batsman said.

According to the maestro, all that Dobson said was "Don't worry. You are the greatest and my hero." The 24-year-old Dobson was arrested for aggravated trespass, but released without charge as he was not carrying a weapon and made no verbal threat to Tendulkar. "There was deemed to be insufficient evidence to proceed under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act," media reports said. ECB's policy of prosecuting pitch invaders was brought in after incidents during last summer's NatWest Series.

In the five previous cases, charges of "aggravated trespass" were brought under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. But the law requires some kind of "threatening behaviour" to be present in such cases. Dobson was polite to Tendulkar, and lax stewarding meant he was not forced to evade arrest, which puts MCC in a difficult position, reports said. England captain Nasser Hussain was critical of security arrangements on Monday, saying, "When idiots like that walk on, someone should come on to the field and quietly escort them away.

We waited for a long time." But he added, "I don't think we should make the greatest ground in the world into a cage." Lamb also held emergency talks with Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports in an effort to bring in stringent legislation to prevent pitch invasion and protect players from intruders.

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