Police caught fabricating a bollox case
Based on an article from the Daily Mail see
Two young women who were dragged before a court for allegedly flashing their breasts at a CCTV camera have had the case against them dropped, the Crown Prosecution Service said today.
Abbi-Louise Maple and Rachel Marchant, both 21, were accused of exposing their chests on Worthing seafront, West Sussex, on July 16. A CCTV operator summoned police and the pair were charged with outraging public decency.
They appeared at Worthing Magistrates' Court on Wednesday and elected for Crown Court trial.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) bollox, Maple and Marchant were near a children's play area and there were youngsters in the vicinity at the time of the alleged incident. [the play area was 100 yards away]
But a spokesman for the organisation said today: The Chief Crown Prosecutor, Sarah Jane Gallagher, in consultation with Sussex Police, has subsequently reviewed the case and she has decided that to continue would not be in the public interest.
The case has therefore been discontinued.
Speaking after she heard the news, Miss Maple said: We'd been to the pub and had a few drinks. It was just a little joke, one of those spur-of-the-moment things. I'm happy. I just wanted it to be over, I didn't want a criminal record for that.
Miss Marchant said: We did not intend to upset anyone and I don't think it's that offensive because people sunbathe topless all the time. Everyone thinks it's ridiculous that we've been taken to court. Most people think what we did was
The two girls were arrested, questioned and then charged with committing an act outraging public decency [See note Below] - an offence which carries a maximum sentence of six months prison or a £5,000 fine. If the case had gone to a trial at crown
court it would have cost the taxpayer £8,000 a day.
The decision to prosecute for an offence that appeared so trivial drew heavy criticism. Peter Bottomley, Tory MP for West Worthing, led calls for the case to be dropped. He said: This is ridiculous. It is a total waste of public money and
waste of time for the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. The sooner they drop the case, the better.
Background: The Legalities of Public Nudity
Thanks to Malcolm of www.british-naturism.org.uk , March 2008
The is no such offence as 'indecent exposure'.
There is an offence of 'Exposure' but the name is misleading. It is actually 'Aggressive Exposure'. It was very carefully worded so that it could not be applied to naturists. The important point is that there must be intent to cause fear, alarm
or distress. It could not possibly apply to this case.
There are no specific prohibitions of nudity. The Victorian statutes have all been repealed.
The enabling power for councils to make bye laws regulating the decency of swim suits has been repealed to ... protect naturists from busy body ... councillors.
The idea that these two young women committed the offence of "Outraging Public Decency" is absolutely absurd. The defining judgment states that 'outraging is a very strong word' and that the behaviour must go well beyond merely offensive.
The offence must be in a public place but the definition of public place is rather technical. Nobody else was around so apart from the CCTV is was not a public place. There is case law establishing that a CCTV recording does not make it a public
place. As far as we know the law with respect to live CCTV has not been established but is likely to be the same so that is two grounds for throwing out the charge. It is a good example of how vague catch all offences are abused.
The only charge that might possibly be appropriate would be that old favourite of police and authorities when they want to make up the law as they go along, s.5 Public Order Act 1986.
There is no offence of nudity and no such offence as indecent exposure.
The offence of Exposure only applies to genitals and it requires intent to cause fear, alarm or distress.
Public Order legislation is sometimes used against naturists but when the victim refuses to be bullied the prosecution finds it difficult to obtain convictions.
Outraging Public Decency was an outrageously inappropriate charge and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of plain English.