Ogling man’s chest is legal, but not womans boobs, rule judges

May 16th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 16 (ANI): Ogling at 007s chest is perfectly fine but dare not leer at any of his girls, well that is not only the warning of James Bond but also the ruling on what constitutes voyeurism by a panel of leading judges at the Court of Appeal on May 15.

Only women’s breasts can be regarded as private parts, whereas the same cannot be said for the male chest even if the male in question has man breasts, or mobs as they are known the judges said.

The distinction between the sexual status of the female and male chest area was made during the quashing of a conviction for voyeurism at a public swimming pool.

Last year, Kevin Bassett, of Spalding, Lincs, was found guilty of the charge after he secretly filmed a man as he showered in his trunks.

The 44-year-old care home worker was given an 18-month supervision order, but appealed on the grounds that the alleged offence did not fall into any category in the 2003 Sexual Offences Act under which he was charged.

Lawyers for Bassett said the Act stated that private parts such as breasts must be exposed during an act of voyeurism.

It was claimed that the Act only referred to female breasts and that the jury had been poorly directed by the judge at St Albans Crown Court.

Lord Justice Hughes, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London with Justice Treacy and Sir Paul Cresswell, said the trial judge had given the jury legal directions before they retired, but had failed properly to address the question of the meaning of breasts.

He ruled that Judge John Plumstead’s directions to the jury were flawed and quashed Mr Bassett’s conviction.

Referring to the 2003 Act, Lord Justice Hughes said: “The intention of Parliament was to mean female breasts and not an exposed male chest.

“The former are still private amongst 21st century bathers the second is not. This Act didn’t mean to refer to the male chest but only to female breasts, it follows that the judge’s directions on the meaning of breasts was erroneous, the Telegraph quoted him, as adding.

In his original trial last April, Bassett was accused of filming the man in the changing room at Grange Paddocks Pool in Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, in April 2005.

The subject of the tape said: “I noticed a middle-aged male on a bench holding a plastic bag. I noticed a hole at an angle pointing towards myself and my daughter. I walked towards him. I could see a circular shape through the hole.

“I had visions of my daughter being on the Internet. I said to him ‘Have you got a camera in there?’ He said, ‘No, no.’ I was shaking and shouting.”

The pool manager, Lynne Crick, said Bassett admitted taking the film, but told her he wasn’t interested in the little girl. He had added: “It was the man I was interested in.”

He told the jury he had tried to hide his homosexuality for years.

On conviction, the judge told Bassett: “It is by good grace and good luck that you were not lynched that day.” (ANI)

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