Cops defend decision to release ageing Cyrus fan

LOS ANGELES: Police officials in Georgia have defended their decision to release a man they arrested for making "inappropriate comments” to young Miley Cyrus fans on the set of the teen star's new film THE LAST SONG, insisting a jail was too full to hold him.

Mark MCLeod, 53, was arrested by Tybee Island Police in Savannah, Georgia last month (22Jun09) and booked on two misdemeanour charges.

Police reports suggest MCLeod had “been camping at Tybee for three or four days and that he had observed Cyrus on her balcony, that he sent her special presents and that he (claimed he) was going to marry Cyrus and even invited the (arresting) police officer to the wedding."

MCLeod was transferred to the Chatham County Jail the day after his arrest (23Jun09) but he was released because the prison was too full. He had no money to post bail and instead signed a subpoena promising to appear in court on 1 September (09).

Now, the local media has forced police authorities in Georgia to defend their decision to release him.

Insisting MCLeod poses no threat to himself, Cyrus or her fans, Chatham County Sheriff Al St Lawrence says, "If we had heard something about this guy supposedly being a stalker or he had been charged with a felony, he wouldn’t have been released... He was charged with two non-violent misdemeanours and we acted accordingly."