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By Court Reporter Monday 18 February 2013 Updated: 20/02 23:46
THE CASE against the so-called Naked Rambler, who was arrested for walking nude in the district, has been dropped.
Stephen Gough had denied a charge of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour. The former Royal Marine was only told the day before his trial was due to start in Leamington.
Prosecutor Baljinder Kaur told magistrates on Friday (February 15) ‘a decision has been taken to discontinue the case because of insufficient evidence.’
Mr Gough, who has repeatedly been jailed as a result of his insistence on roaming the country naked, was initially arrested on suspicion of outraging public decency by West Mercia Police as he made his way through Tardebigge near Hewell Grange prison. He had also been sighted on the Alcester Road in Burcot shortly before 11.40am on November 30.
After being taken to Redditch Police Station he was released without charge before the 53-year-old was picked up again over the border in Warwickshire at Bickmarsh, near Bidford-on-Avon. After refusing to put on clothes he appeared before magistrates in Leamington wearing just his socks.
At that hearing Mark Parry defending, said Mr Gough, of Chamberlain Road in Eastleigh, Hampshire, denied the charge because his behaviour had not been insulting.
He added London solicitors which had previously represented Mr Gough had argued under human rights legislation he should be allowed to walk around naked, but added most of his court appearance had been in Scotland rather than under English law.
Mr Gough was jailed by a Scottish court for five months in September but released in October.
"His argument is the Crown say his behaviour in walking around naked is insulting behaviour; and whether or not it is insulting is going to be the issue," Mr Perry said.
Pam Meinert, prosecuting at that time, said there were to be two prosecution witnesses for the trial – a member of the public and a police officer. It was suggested at the time the member of the public would have to give evidence on whether she felt insulted or distressed by Gough’s behaviour.
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