* There were loads of points in my defence that I felt should’ve been used, but weren’t. Things like:
* The women (and men) at both events should not have been doing what they were, which was urinating and defecating, in a public place! Surely they gave up their right to privacy when they decided to expose themselves in an open public area.
* None of the people committing the offence of urinating and/or defecating in public were charged. Why weren’t Mr and Mrs R being charged by the Police for urinating in public? Isn’t this incredibly hypocritical of the Police?
Urinating (or defecating) in public is an offence under the bylaws of Newcastle, and these people should also have been arrested when the Police decided to arrest me.
* Also, why doesn’t Section 66 – Exposure – of the Sex Offences Act 2003, under which I am being charged under section 67 – Voyeurism – apply to the people who were urinating?
It reads, “Section 66 makes it an offence for a person intentionally to expose his genitals where he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress. It is not necessary for A’s genitals to have been seen by anyone or for anyone to have been alarmed or distressed. For example, if a person exposes his genitals to some passers-by, he may (depending on his state of mind) commit the offence regardless of whether they actually see his genitals or whether they have been alarmed or distressed by seeing them.”
Everyone that was filmed at either of these events intentionally exposed their genitals in order to urinate or defecate. It is no more possible to prove that any of these people “intended to cause alarm or distress” by doing this, than it is to prove that I recorded these people to attain “sexual gratification”. In both cases, it would have to be assumed, rightly or wrongly. Most reasonable people would agree that charging these people with exposure would be a misinterpretation of the law, but that is exactly the same for the Police case against me. They are misinterpreting the law as it applies to my case.
* Also, what would’ve happened if some children had wandered into one of the areas where there were people urinating and defecating? It seems that by not charging anybody for doing this, the Police were not bothered by the fact that a child could’ve been exposed to seeing male or female genitalia performing functions that could cause them a lot of emotional distress to see.
In fact, this probably did happen at either of the two events but was possibly not reported. Again, my point is that if the Police were going to arrest and charge me, as they have, then they should’ve also at least arrested and charged Mr and Mrs R.
* The recording at the Green Festival was a “spur of the moment” thing. I did not plan on filming anyone when I went to that event but did so when I began to see women drop their pants in public. I thought that if they were willing to do that, then they didn’t mind people seeing them.
Most of the people that were urinating at both events were actually aware that they were being seen and did not mind – there is plenty of evidence on the tape that proves this. Also, many of the people at both events were actually apologetic, as they were doing something that is offensive to many and they knew that they shouldn’t have been urinating in public.
I was clearly visible at all times at both events and was not hiding or creeping around. At 6 foot 1 in height this would be rather hard to do, so everyone should’ve seen me and they all had a chance to not do what they were doing, but they did so anyway, despite the fact that there were always others present, as well as myself.
There were even other people with video cameras and digital cameras at the Great North Run filming the women the same as me, but I was only arrested because of one offended man who jumped on me and then assaulted me.
* Nearly all of the Green Festival footage on the tape was shots of the trees, grass and the sky. Out of approximately 10 minutes of footage in total, only 30 seconds or so contain anything involving women urinating and even then there are very little details and nothing that could be considered explicit. Most of it was shot from a distance.
I only spent a small amount of time at the GNR filming people, as the length of the footage – about 5 or 6 minutes – confiscated by the Police proved. I spent the rest of the time enjoying the show and spotting celebrities, along with the rest of the general public.
* When does an act in a public place become a crime of voyeurism? Last July, 1700 people posed completely naked in 4 locations in Newcastle and Gateshead for an “artistic photo shoot” by Spencer Tunick. What is the difference between what I did, and all the people that were watching that event and taking pictures and video footage? Was anybody arrested at that event? The Press? Of course not, but why was nobody arrested if it is a crime to film someone undressing and exposing themselves in a public place?
There were possibly people at this art event that were filming the people in the nude for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification, but the Police didn’t arrest anyone there. What really is the difference between an event like this where the people gave consent to being filmed by the artist and the public, and the people at the Green fest/Great North Run, who gave up their right to privacy when they chose to expose themselves in a public place? They didn’t have to urinate where they did. If they didn’t want to be seen or filmed, they should’ve used a toilet like everyone else.
(Side Note: A couple of officers from Northumbria Police were later suspended for selling CCTV footage from this event to members of the public! More hypocrisy)
* At both events, nearly all of the people filmed were within 100 yards of a toilet – some much closer. They have no good excuse for doing what they did, where they did.
* If I wanted to get sexual gratification from that kind of imagery, I could easily access that on the Internet in the privacy of my own home. Why would I risk getting into all of this trouble for a few poor quality shots of some people peeing? I did not think I was breaking any laws when I filmed these people, and would never have done so in the first place if I thought I was committing a crime.
It was just meant as a bit of harmless fun. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong at the time as I thought that the people urinating were the ones committing the obvious offence because they were in public!
What I did may have been stupid, morally wrong and offensive to some people, but it was not a crime when these people were in a public place.
Urinating or defecating in public could also be seen as stupid, morally wrong and offensive, but nobody seems to have been arrested at either of these events for this and it seems that the Police are only interested in unfairly punishing me for my bad judgement, while the people who got me arrested in the first place seem the be able to walk away from this freely.
* This whole case has been a huge waste of taxpayer’s money. Tens of thousands of pounds have been spent on this investigation for a thing that I should’ve been simply cautioned for. It costs over £2,000 to forensically investigate one computer, and they took 3 of mine, so that’s £6,000 on computer analysis alone, plus the thousands spent on Police time, CPS time, court time, all the legal costs and more.
* I have already been punished more than enough for what I have done. The Police took all my computers away from me, even though they had nothing to do with what I did, and as I run an Internet business this had a major and immediate impact on me. They had my computers for 10 months and my business is now wrecked. I am now officially unemployed.
I have paid the price for my actions.
To send me to prison at this point would be incredibly harsh and “over the top”, given the punishment I have already suffered for the relatively small things I did.
I have learned my lesson and will not be doing anything like this again, and to send me to prison now would be totally unnecessary and extreme.
End of Defence Points
There are lots of other things that should’ve been taken into consideration too, things like the fact that there were only 3-4 minutes of tape with anybody on it over a 5 month period. If I’m such a pervert, why isn’t there more? Why are there not hours of it? Why were there not loads of tapes? Why did the Police choose to ignore these facts?
What about the fact that I have been on unconditional bail for the past 12 months, including 8 months in which I had charges against me? If I am such a threat to society, which the judge now seems to think as he has banned me from entering the city of Newcastle, then why have the Police and the 5 or 6 sets of Magistrate judges that I have seen all bailed me unconditionally? They all knew what I was alleged to have done, yet none of them felt the charges were serious enough to warrant any conditions on my bail. The fact this one judge is now treating me like I am some sort of threat to women is absolutely ridiculous.
This one judge has far too much power and ability to screw up someone’s life.
When I first went to crown court back in July to enter my plea of not guilty, the judge I stood before on that day – Judge Whitburn – was actually more on my side, saying that he “was surprised that this had come to trial” and “when can any act in a public place be deemed a private act”?
If the judge I had on the day of my trial – Judge Cartlidge – had this kind of common sense, then maybe I wouldn’t be facing a prison sentence?
I also was shocked at how little say you actually have in court. I was never given a chance to speak openly at any point. I could only answer the questions that I was asked, and nothing more.
When I was found guilty at the end of my trial, I was so stunned at the fact that they had come to that conclusion without hearing most of the details and information they needed to know that I shook my head in disbelief. The judge saw this, and took this to mean that I showed “no remorse”. What an idiot. Had he just asked me, I could’ve explained, but he didn’t and had I opened my mouth and spoke I would’ve been immediately thrown in jail for contempt of court! You have no idea how frustrating that is!
What the judge seems to fail to realise is that being charged in the first place and having to wait 8 months for an outcome is punishment enough. Having all of my computers taken away and my business ruined is punishment enough. Having my life and my future put on “pause” is punishment enough. Having all the lies and embellishments published in the papers, causing undue stress and embarrassment to innocent members of my family who should not have to suffer for my mistakes, especially my father who has already had to deal with the Police invading his house on the day of arrest to search for evidence, is punishment enough.
Does the judge take any of this into consideration? Nope.
So that’s the bulk of what happened. I hope it all makes sense?