* What’s actually on the tape?
There are a total of 3-4 minutes of people on the tape and a further 10-12 minutes of grass, trees and blackness from where the camera was just left running in the bag I had it in! I had no plan for filming so wasn’t turning the camera off and on again. Of the 3-4 minutes where there are any people, almost all of that footage is of women totally covered. There’s less than 1 minute on the tape where you can actually see any skin, or any peeing for that matter! I might be getting sent to prison for that 3-4 minutes!! Ridiculous or what?
* Why is there nothing else on the tape?
That’s because I hardly ever used my video camera all, and there’s very little of anything on any of my tapes! The camera provides much better quality than my digital camera, but it was a total hassle whenever I wanted to watch anything back. My digital camera just plugged straight into my computers, so 95% of the time I just used that to film gigs and stuff. I took my video camera out with me around 4 or 5 times over last summer, just in case I felt like taping something in higher quality. I used it at the Green Fest simply because I felt I should get some use out of the damn thing!! Unfortunately, I didn’t use it much more after that, and because I had the same tape at the Great North Run, things looked much worse than they actually were with the tape situation. If I had used it to tape some bands or the sea or something, then the prosecution wouldn’t have been able to make such a big deal out of it. It’s just the way things happened.
* Why did you only film women and no men?
There’s nothing shocking or funny in seeing a line of men peeing in the park! I’ve seen it hundreds of times before because I’m a guy, and I see that every time I use a urinal in a pub or club or something. To see a line of women peeing in a park is a very different and surprising thing to see. Simple as that!
* Why would the Police/CPS want to screw you over?
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is a pretty new set of laws that cover everything from child abuse, rape, prostitution, having sex with dead bodies, to flashing and beyond. Voyeurism is one of the minor offences that the government stuck on the end of it. The voyeurism section was obviously created to protect people from intrusion into their homes, bathrooms and other private places.
The CPS basically wanted to see how far they could stretch the law and its vagueness, and my case was classed as a “groundbreaking” one. They succeeded, and as far as I know, I am the first person ever in the UK to be prosecuted for voyeurism under these circumstances – those being that I was in a public place. All future cases of this type will be compared to my case.
Had this situation happened 18 months earlier everything would’ve been dropped simply because there wasn’t a law for voyeurism at all.
* Why were you pictured in the papers wearing shades and a hoodie? You looked like a criminal with something to hide?
That was me coming out of court! That was not what I was wearing when I was doing the filming! I had been warned that this could be made into a big deal by the press, so I wanted to make sure that they couldn’t get a good picture of me to splash all over their papers. I think I succeeded but should’ve done a better job of covering my mouth. The “Papanazi’s” (as Rock Star Tommy Lee likes to call them) were hiding behind two concrete pillars outside of court. They started snapping when I came through the main doors and ran circles around me trying to get a good face shot. I ended up having to run along the Newcastle Quayside to get away from them!
Do you feel that there is maybe a hint of irony in not wanting to get my picture taken by them, given what I did? Well, I think there’s a big difference between just me seeing the women that I filmed on my tape and the tens of thousands of local people that were going to see my picture in the papers with the word “pervert” written next to it, I’m sure you’ll agree?!
* Why was there a hole in the bottom of the bag that you had the camera in?
Ahh, the infamous hole! This was made into a big deal by the prosecution and the Police, but the truth is far less sinister than they made it out to be. I made that hole about 10 minutes before I was arrested, and did so simply so I could use my camera whilst keeping it protected in the plastic bag that I usually carried it around in. I always kept the camera in a bag to stop it from getting dirty or wet. It had rained the night before the Great North Run and I was worried that I might drop the camera into some mud or get it scratched. It obviously did have the effect of making the camera harder to see too, but that wasn’t the reason that it did it. My camera was never especially hidden at any other point.