Media Release 3 December 2012
Family First NZ has written to the Crown Solicitor asking them to review the acquittal of a naked jogger in the Tauranga High Court last week, and is asking them to appeal the decision.
In the letter, they say:
“We believe the decision sets a dangerous precedent and sends the message that public nudity will not be deemed to be offensive behaviour, even if families and children are offended. Ironically, the Judge was clothed at the time of sentencing, as was Mr Pointon, and his lawyer. We are certain that if Mr Pointon had turned up to the court naked, he would have been instructed to get clothed.
Section 125 of the Crimes Act clearly states that it is a crime to “wilfully (do) any indecent act in any place to which the public have or are permitted to have access, or within view of any such place.” In Mr Pointon’s case, it was clearly indecent. It was in a public place at a time when it was quite reasonable for children and families to be present and to be confronted by the exhibitionist. It is also highly likely that both the children and the parents would be offended by the behaviour and what they saw.
Families are rightly concerned that they and their children may be confronted by full nudity in a public place. Freedom of expression must never be at the expense of the right to protect children and families from offensive and inappropriate behaviour. We would not allow nudists to expose themselves in shopping centers or outside schools. Doing it on the beach or on a public running track where there are families is no different. Most New Zealanders know it is indecent and inappropriate to be naked in a public place – which is why there is no acceptance of the behaviour in schools, workplaces or public gatherings.
ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) International’s New Zealand director Alan Bell said exposing a child to naked adults was “tantamount to abuse”.
Families don’t want their children being confronted by naked men and women. The rights of nudists to ‘hang loose’ should not be at the expense of families feeling embarrassed or offended. It is completely inappropriate for children to be confronted with naked adults running past them or sunbathing. It is not for families to ‘get out of the way’. The nudists should simply cover up. There’s a place for nudity, but it is certainly not on our main streets or beaches or public parks which families and children use.
Justice Paul Heath has got it wrong, and we would call on the Crown to appeal the sentence. This case sets a dangerous precedent and means that families are more likely to be confronted by offensive and inappropriate behavior in public places where they should feel safe about taking their children.”