Naturists Campaigning for Naturism

Change S5 Campaign

After the publication of the article on Steve Gough in April a few comments were made here, which were broadly supportive. Oddly enough, not long afterwards – and purely by coincidence – Gough came up as a topic of conversation on the Yahoo group forum, naturists UK that confirmed my opinion on how divisive he is among naturists and I don’t suppose it will end any time soon.

I have no intention to go over old ground, however I would like to pursue an idea that was put forward (by Peter Knight, as it happens) among the comments; that we should use Gough’s plight in Scotland to gain publicity about the wider problems naturists have when they encounter the justice system. We could, and I believe we should.

Gough is held under the common law offence of breach of the (monarch’s) peace, which the Court of Appeal in R v Howell, has defined as: ‘an act done or threatened to be done which either actually harms a person, or in his presence, his property, or is likely to cause such harm being done.’ [1] However, following Bibby v Chief

9 Responses to Change S5 Campaign

  • by removing the word “insulting” would that just be replaced by “likely to cause distress”?

    • The simple answer is, we don’t know. We need to keep a watch for the next stage of the process and answer accordingly.

  • It is removing the word insulting which is the only change we are likely to get in the near future because that is the subject of the Government consultation that has been going on over recent months. In my contribution to the consultation and in my dealings with my MP I have been pointing out that it’s not really the law which is wrong, but the fragrent abuse of it by police, CPS and magistrates and the only way to stop that abuse would be to completely repeal Section 5 (which won’t happen).
    When I was convicted under Section 5 it seems that I was guilty because I caused distress (probably not true) and that was sufficient for a conviction. It didn’t seem necessary to prove behaviour was insulting etc. We are attempting to appeal the decision to the High Court, but the local court is following up their ignorance of the law by ignoring the requirements to resond to the aplication to appeal. My Solicitor is looking into the procedures but it looks as if we will need to go to court to make the court fulfil their legal obligations.
    Getting rid of the term insulting won’t help much because they will just decide the behaviour is disorderly; another term open to abuse by police and magistrates.
    A big campaign is needed so that the public are aware thet nudity isn’t a crime under present legislation and so that police and CPS become aware that anyone arrested and eventually charged under Section 5 (arrests are usually under SOA or non-existent offences such as indecent exposure) will not accept a caution, will plead not guilty and will appeal against any decisions of the lower courts. Events such as the Trafalgar Square 4th plinth and WNBR have educated some police in London, but the ignorance of the law outside London is appalling. It’s difficult to get campaigns going since so many naturists are afraid to ‘come out’. High profile campaigns are needed. The more liberal attitudes in countries like Denmark were achieved with big campaigns, in particular regular naked wade-ins on textile beaches.
    We won’t get a significant change in the law, what we need is a significant change in attitude from police and magistrates and this won’t happen unless we force it on them. We won’t get it by hiding away and complaining.
    Brian Johnson

  • At last someone else has come to conclusion that section 5 cannot be modified it needs to be completly scrapped then written again with human rights issues considered.just messing about with one word just will not work> As a substitute word would be used. (english is a wonderfull language)

  • Marie Woolf, Sunday Times Whitehall Editor, writes that Government sources said repeal was “long overdue” and the status quo was backed by “just a few civil servants and some police officers”.

    A spokesman for Clegg said: “It is something that has support on all sides of the house. It would be a sensible move to repeal it.”

    The House of Lords will debate the issue on Wednesday night, 4th July.

    This information from:

  • I totally agree with you Ancient Brit, Brian, about the need for big campaigns, wade-ins sound great. Freedoms have to be won – think about slavery, womens rights and sexual freedom – achievements have been made through action, though there is still much to be done. I sense that the time is right for naked freedom – there are many of us willing to show ourselves and much of the public is OK with nudity. The police and legal authorities need to be worked on, but the S5 criminal offences of causing distress, insulting behaviour or disorderly conduct etc. are clearly ridiculous and unsustainable, we can get them repealed. So, I’m ready to join with others for naked action. lets get started!

  • I agree with Rouget and Ancient,Brit,Brian it is time for all in naturism to pull together to get section 5 repealed. I am willing to give support in any way I can…

  • I agree; mass action is required, and hopefully should involve both men and women of all ages. We have to state clearlt that we are part of Europe, where attitudes to the naturist lifestyle are much more sensible.

  • I totally agree with the two comments above, if all naturists, nudists and sun worshipors joined forces, someone somewhere, may, perhaps listen and take note and do something to help the cause. Please contact me with anything i could be of help to.

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