The prosecution yesterday dropped its case against a senior housing official who stole a $60 computer magazine and blamed the theft on drugs he was taking to deal with stress from a series of housing scandals. Instead, Poon Kai-tak, 47, Assistant Director of Housing (information and community relations), was bound over in the sum of $2,000 for 12 months. He had pleaded not guilty to theft and assault charges in Western Court, but admitted the facts of the case after the charges were dropped. No conviction was recorded against him. Magistrate Peter White said the decision not to prosecute Poon was consistent with a government prosecution policy announced in 1998, outlining conditions which allow for the accused to be bound over. These include good character and a small likelihood of re-offending. Mr White said the policy 'applies to the rich and the poor' alike, regardless of whether the accused was in a position of power. 'I always remind myself to try to protect people from . . . [having a] criminal record,' he said. A Housing Department spokeswoman said no action would be taken against the official 'because the issue is not job-related'. She said Poon, who earns more than $110,000 a month, would have a meeting with the department to decide if he would stay in his job after his contract expires on December 31. Poon was arrested on July 25 for stealing a $60 computer magazine at Jumbo Magazine House in Queensway Plaza. The court heard Poon, who had $1,000 cash on him, hid the book under his jacket. He also bought a $15 leisure magazine at the shop. Poon struck a shop assistant on the arm when she confronted him outside the shop, the court heard. The incident happened a month after Housing Department chairwoman Rosanna Wong Yick-ming resigned on June 24 over a piling scandal in Sha Tin. Prosecutor Ernest Cheung Yan-ming yesterday offered no evidence against Poon, saying it was not in the public interest to pursue the case in light of his psychiatric problems and after obtaining the shop assistant's views. Outside court, Poon said he had not been aware of the effect the medicine had on him. He added that he did not know he had hurt the shop assistant, who was treated in hospital for minor injuries. Democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan, for Poon, said his client was on medication because he had been under pressure from a heavy workload brought about by the scandals and Ms Wong's resignation. 'He was apprehended . . . and he overdosed on the day of the incident. He could not recall what had happened,' Mr Ho said. Poon said he had yet to decide if he would stay in his position.