A Tauranga exhibitionist Andrew Lyle Pointon, 47, has lost his High Court appeal against guilty verdicts on two charges of offensive criminal behaviour relating to public nudity. Offensive behaviour charges were laid against this exhibitionist after neighbours reported seeing him gardening in the nude at his home at 14th Avenue, Tauranga, in January 2012 and mowing his lawn naked in March 2012. The judge had noted in effect that he had knowingly engaged in offensive “exhibitionism” on a number of occasions at times when his neighbours and their young children were understood to be in the vicinity, and that he knew that he could be clearly seen by them from their properties. As a consequence of his offensive exhibitionism their rights were impacted negatively, as the parents felt compelled to prevent their children from going out onto their section to play, in order to protect them from exposure to this offensive nude exhibitionist. Their rights – not to be offended – were infringed by Pointon’s zealous and misguided claim that he was merely exercising his ‘rights’ of “freedom of expression” under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
At a defended hearing in Tauranga District Court in May 2013 the Judge found Andrew Lyle Pointon guilty of exposing himself in a manner that offended neighbours who had complained. He was fined $300 and $350 on the naked gardening and lawn-mowing charges.
Pointon’s appeal against the guilty verdicts was heard by Justice Paul J. Heath, in the High Court and he dismissed the appeal in his judgment delivered at 4.00 pm on 10 September 2013.
“..the sergeant suggests his behaviour was in the nature of exhibitionism – a word which is not entirely inapt” …
“I do consider that reasonable persons having the characteristics of the particular complainants have been offended and to some degree as to warrant the invocation of criminal law.” [Emphasis added]
Pointon has claimed that his nudity in public places is not about exhibitionism.
“There’s no connotations to it there’s nothing sexual about it there’s nothing perverted about it and that’s the way just being naked is, just feeling good in your own body,” he told SunLive.co.nz.
[Note: Perversion is a concept describing those types of human behaviour that deviate from that which is understood to be orthodox or normal. Although it can refer to a variety of forms of deviation, it is most often used to describe sexual behaviours that are considered particularly abnormal, repulsive or obsessive. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pervert].
Mr Pointon’s lawyer Michael Bott, as noted in the appeal judgment, had informed the court earlier that if it was to rule that the previous trial had been fair, “he [Bott] could not challenge the Judge’s decision that the behaviour was offensive.” [Emphasis added]
Pointon referred in court to his earlier lawyer having informed him in advance that his intended appeal was “unwinnable”. It was noted that the lawyer disputes this, but the fact remains that Pointon lost his appeal.
Clearly Pointon is wrong to continue to think he can expose his private parts around Tauranga without committing criminal offences. The fines imposed at sentencing should remind him to consider the rights of others. One would hope he is not still exposing himself front of children and pretending that it’s all “just [about] feeling good in [his] body”, for too much longer. The Tauranga public no doubt, especially his near neighbours, would be delighted to see him learn to show some restraint and confine his exhibitionism to performances in front of a mirror in his own home, with curtains drawn, or in a truly private location on his own property… or better still, perform his gardening and lawn-mowing nudist “feel-good about his body” duties at a naturist club.
Behaviour that is deemed “offensive” under the criminal law and is carried out by a nude person in a public place in New Zealand, would be considered perverted behaviour by many reasonable-minded persons. The exposure of a person’s nude body in a public place in a manner that deliberately infringes on the freedoms of others not to be offended, is considered perverted behaviour. For example, people who run naked onto public sports grounds during sports games are considered self-centred perverts and exhibitionists. Those who expose their genitals on their private property in the sure knowledge that near neighbours, including children are confronted, deserve to be classified as sexual perverts and sexual exhibitionists. Such persons may never intend to commit sexual offences, but members of the public are not to know this, and the very opposite may in fact be the case.
Lawn order: Garden clothed, naked runner told
Tauranga naturist accused of mowing lawns naked
By Sandra Conchie. 5 February 2013
Andrew Lyle Pointon v. New Zealand Police. Hearing 5 September 2013. Judgment 10 September 2013.
CRI 2013-470-17 92013] NZHC 2352