The legal confusion with breasts

Sunday. I hate Sunday’s. It has to be the most boring day of the week! So there is nothing better than getting distracted by the gorgeous James Steel (aka Ben Daniels) prosecuting offenders on Law & Order UK while you are suppose to be doing your homework for Tuesday. Yes, Jen concentrate. Drooling over James Steel isn’t going to make you a Solicitor is it? No, it is not. So where was I?

Oh yes, Sexual Offences Act 2003. The joys of voyeurism. R v Bassett (2008) Care worker Kevin Bassett, 44, was found guilty in 2008 after using a video camera hidden in a plastic bag to film footage of a swimmer.

His conviction was quashed at the Court of Appeal after Lord Justice Hughes, Mr Justice Treacy and Sir Paul Cresswell ruled that a man’s bare torso did not count as ‘private parts’.
The 2003 Sexual Offences Act specifies that “private parts” must be exposed for voyeurism to have taken place. Only women, it seems, have breasts that can be seen in a sexual light.
Lord Justice Hughes explained: “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.”
At the original trial at St Albans Crown Court, a bather told how he spotted Mr Bassett as he swam at the Grange Paddock Complex in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire.

“I noticed a middle-aged male on a bench holding a plastic bag,” he said. “I noticed a hole at an angle pointing towards myself and my daughter.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.”

Mr Bassett later admitted to the pool manager: “I did have a video. It wasn’t the little girl. “It was the man I was interested in.”

The practising Christian told the jury he had hidden his homosexuality for many years.
“It has made me ill over the years. I want to be like everyone else,” he said.
After telling the court he had since received counselling and support from friends and family, he was given an 18-month community order. Sentencing him, Judge J Plumstead said: “It is by good grace and good luck that you were not lynched that day.”

He was also put on the sex offenders’ register for five years and banned from using a camera or recording equipment in public unless it was clearly on display.
The Appeal Court judges ruled that although the trial judge had given the jury detailed directions on the question before they retired, he had failed to fully deal with the issue of the meaning of the term ‘breasts’.

Wow what a case?! Seriously did they not think that this argument could possible arise? And is it not true? Do men not have breasts? Do they just have a breast? Weird how a sentence is pass just by someone’s interpretation of a word.


4 comments on “The legal confusion with breasts

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