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Court clears two men on canal boat ‘joy-riding’ charge
Published: 13 October 2011
by GEORGIA GRAHAM
TWO men have been cleared of stealing and “joy-riding” a canal boat along Regent’s Canal.
Stanilaw Mroz, 28, who was found drunk and “scrabbling around” on the floor of the canal boat with a can of beer and a cannabis cigarette, was found guilty of a separate charge of criminal damage to the boat owner’s property.
Mr Mroz and his friend, Piotr Koscielniak, 30, were arrested after a canal boat called Bognor was found next to the Kentish Town Lock by police officers in June, a trial at Highbury Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday.
Mr Mroz was found inside the boat, which had a broken window when police arrived, while Mr Koscielniak was on the banks of the canal.
Boat owner Rohit Goel told police that the boat had been moved 15 metres down the canal from where he had tied it up, and that a window had been broken. He said his property, including CDs and CD cases, had been broken.
Mr Koscielniak admitted looking in the engine room. He told the court: “I was in there for about half an hour. I have seen these engines before and I was interested. It was pure curiosity.”
Mr Mroz, meanwhile, was found by police inside the main living area of the canal boat and was escorted off the boat by an officer.
In the case of Mr Koscielniak, Judge Henderson ruled not guilty of causing criminal damage.
Mr Mroz, the judge said, was in a “slightly different” position.
He added: “Once inside the boat in his drunken and intoxicated state there is clear evidence that he damaged property.”
The judge awarded £50 in compensation to Mr Goel for the distress caused. Mr Mroz was also ordered to pay a £100 fine, £100 in court costs, £100 for cannabis possession.