Two Female Sunbathers Arrested for Flashing CCTV Camera
Two female sunbathers prosecuted for flashing their breasts at CCTV camera | the Daily Mail
Two female sunbathers prosecuted for flashing their breasts at CCTV camera
By JAMES MILLS - Last updated at 15:44pm on 23rd August 2007
Abbi-Louise Maple (left) and Rachel Marchant
Abbi-Louise Maple (left) and Rachel Marchant flashed their breasts at a CCTV camera after it swivelled in their direction
When Abbi-Louise Maple and Rachel Marchant saw a CCTV camera trained on them as they sat on a beach, they had a mischievous idea.
The 21-year-olds lifted their tops and flashed their bare chests at the camera before collapsing in a fit of giggles.
The young women's friends thought their prank was hilarious.
The CCTV operator, however, didn't see the funny side and called the police.
Minutes later, the two blondes were arrested, questioned and then charged with committing an act outraging public decency - an offence which carries a maximum sentence of six months prison or a £5,000 fine.
The pair, who appeared before magistrates on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges, will now stand trial before a crown court jury at a cost to the taxpayer of £8,000 a day.
Miss Maple and Miss Marchant were enjoying a day on the beach with friends near their homes in Worthing, West Sussex, on July 16, when they noticed the surveillance camera.
Miss Maple said: "For a laugh we both quickly lifted our tops up to flash the camera.
"There was nobody else around that we could see, the beach was empty, so we didn't think it would be a problem as we had done it before.
"We hope they see sense and drop it. We're just two young girls who were having a bit of fun."
Miss Marchant added: "We did not intend to upset anyone and I don't think it's that offensive because people sunbathe topless all the time.
"Everyone thinks it's ridiculous that we've been taken to court. Most people think what we did was funny.
"That's all it was - just a bit of a laugh.
"It's a waste of time and money. They should be concentrating on drug dealers and rapists, not two girls having a bit of harmless fun."
After entering not guilty pleas at Worthing Magistrates' Court, they both elected to stand trial at Chichester Crown Court and the case was adjourned.
Prosecutor Linda Arnell told the court that the beach was about 100 yards from a family play area and that youths aged around 15 were walking nearby when the women were caught on camera.
Peter Bottomley, Tory MP for West Worthing, has led calls for the case to be dropped.
He said: "This is ridiculous.
"It is a total waste of public money and waste of time for the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. The sooner they drop the case, the better."
The women's solicitor Chris Chatterton said he was confident the case would be dropped by a crown court judge.
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The beach at Worthing in West Sussex where the girls were captured on CCTV
There are no laws specifically prohibiting nudity in public.
Public nudity can be prosecuted under the common law offence of outraging public decency if it causes harassment, alarm or distress.
There is also an offence of indecent exposure that falls under the Sexual Offences Act.
Naturists and topless sunbathers are not usually prosecuted.
Malcolm Boura, research officer for British Naturism: "There's no way this should be classed as outraging public decency.
"I think they are absolutely right to demand a trial.
"It's ludicrous it ever got this far. It's another example of the law making as ass of itself."
The case follows that of a 12-year-old boy who was this week hauled before a court charged with assault after throwing a sausage at his neighbour.
A judge threw out the charge and criticised the police and lawyers for pursuing the case.
In March last year, a 15-year-old boy from Burnley was landed with a criminal record simply for throwing a snowball at a car.
The teenager was prosecuted under a little-used 160-year-old law and fined £100.
And in January 2005, Sarah McCaffrey, 23, was fined £60 by South Tyneside court for eating an apple while driving.
Ridiculous and a complete waste of tax payers money.
What if that guy operating the cctv cam sees a girl topless sunbathing on the beach ? Freaks out ?
Maybe he's gay and/or has no sense of humor.
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