A west Belfast man has been found not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to a teenager whom he believed was trying to steal his girlfriend's car.
Kieran Milnes said he would take the same action again
Kieran Milnes, 29, of Oakman Street, was jailed for nine months last year for the offence but his conviction was quashed and a retrial ordered.
He had told the court that he merely restrained the 15-year-old.
Speaking after his acquittal, Mr Milnes said he believed the case "should never have been brought to court".
Mr Milnes had told the court he found 15-year-old Gerard Sean Pickering and another youth in the front seat of his girlfriend's car.
He said that he only restrained the teenager at the scene and had no idea how he had suffered a fractured skull and bruises to his body.
The teenager had claimed innocence and maintained that he was attacked with a claw hammer in an unprovoked assault as he made his way home early on 23 November 2002.
Mr Milnes said he was "absolutely delighted" at the verdict but was not "jumping for joy as this has been going on for three years".
The jury also heard Mr Milnes had told police he had found the teenager inside the car and also handed them a screwdriver he claims he found inside the car.
The court was told that the car was never forensically examined and the screwdriver was put in a police bag at the scene but was subsequently lost.
Mr Milnes said the police had "lost a vital part of the evidence and they also failed to take prints".
He added: "I'm not slamming the police. I know that they have a hell of a job to do in Poleglass and Twinbrook and those areas and I congratulate them for what they do but unfortunately, they didn't carry out their duties to the full on that night."
Mr Milnes said he would take the same action again if he felt it was necessary.
"If it's my property, I will defend my property again and if it means doing the same thing again - restraining them and phoning the police - I would say it's my duty to do that and I would do that," he said.
Mr Milnes had served six weeks in prison for the offence before three appeal court judges quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial earlier this year.