Absolute discharge for man who stripped during Police search
A St George’s man whom police said gave a “strip tease” on Court Street has seen his charges dropped in court.
Ahijah Dill, 26, of Smiths Hill, who admitted stripping to his boxer shorts when searched by police, was accused of appearing “improperly dressed” on a highway.
However, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner professed surprise, asking Crown counsel Maria Sofianos: “I can’t wear my shorts on Court Street? That’s what the Crown is saying?”
The court heard that on November 29 at 9pm, Dill shouted “You b**ches” at police officers driving on Court Street.
Police stopped and, noticing a strong smell of intoxicants, were searching Dill when he began stripping off his clothes.
Though warned to stop, Dill persisted down to his undershorts, causing traffic and passers-by to stop.
Dill, currently in custody on other charges, pleaded guilty, but Mr Warner cited changing social standards and ruled that boxer shorts were not intrinsically offensive.
Duty counsel Leo Mills likened the charge, under the Summary Offences Act of 1926, to the archaic offence of “wandering abroad”.
Mr Warner responded: “Wandering abroad was more malicious. As a matter of fact, I would say this is comparable to the use of swear words.”
Noting that women were once barred from wearing bikinis to the beach or in public, the magistrate pointed out that tiny costumes are not considered unusual today.
The concept of being improperly dressed, he said, is relative and depends on the environment and changing social standards.
“There is no debate based on these facts that this young man was being a nuisance,” he added. “Perhaps the police thought this was the only charge.”
Dill was given an absolute discharge for being improperly dressed, and the Crown offered no evidence on a second charge of disorderly behaviour.
“Before these charges are preferred, they should be looked at by someone who knows what they are doing,” Mr Warner added.
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