ASBO given to Naked Rambler Stephen Gough

Stephen Gough in Basingstoke on Tuesday

Stephen Gough in Basingstoke on Tuesday

First published in News
Last updated
by , Chief Reporter

HIS days of walking the streets of Great Britain naked are over for now after a court granted an application to give Stephen Gough an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO).

The activist, known as the Naked Rambler, appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court this afternoon where an interim order was made to prevent him from being naked in public in England and Wales, until May 10.

The 53-year-old was seen in Basingstoke on Monday and Tuesday this week, and appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court after being charged with an offence relating to being naked in public in Andover on February 11. When he arrived at court naked on Tuesday, he was charged with a second public order offence and was subsequently arrested.

The former Royal Marine, who has been in and out of prison almost continuously since 2006 for appearing naked in public, was released on bail and left the court naked to begin his journey back home to Eastleigh. He told The Gazette: “The human body is not indecent, shameful or offensive.”

But now Mr Gough will be forced to put his clothes back on after Hampshire Constabulary successfully applied for him to be subject to an ASBO which means he will have to cover his “genitalia and buttocks.”

Roger Trencher, force solicitor, said: “Today, Hampshire Constabulary sought an ASBO because Stephen Gough has caused much offence nationwide, and he has used a considerable amount of police time in England, Wales and Scotland.

“This is because he insists on rambling naked. He refuses to be deterred by the criminal law. He believes the law is uncertain on the issue of public nudity.

“We applied, in consultation with Eastleigh Borough Council, for an ASBO to bring some clarity to the situation. We hoped the court would agree that, because of the public offence that has been caused and the police time used, it is in the public interest that Mr Gough be required to wear clothing sufficient to prevent the offence.

“We sought an order for him to wear sufficient clothing in public to at least cover his genitalia and buttocks.

“The Constabulary and many residents of Hampshire are please with the court’s decision to grant the ASBO. Any breach of the order could result in a prison sentence for Mr Gough.”

Comments (15)

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9:00pm Thu 28 Feb 13

SeanL4 says...

I actually find this most concerning. Whatever you think of Mr Gough's actions, the correct way to deal with this is through the courts, which are there to uphold the law of the land.

Whenever he has appeared in court in England (Scotland where he was inprisoned has different laws) he has either been found not guilty or charges have been dropped.

This turn of events appears to be Eastleigh BC and Hampshire Police ignoring the courts and deciding between them what is and isn't lawful.

If English law doesn't say something is illegal, its not the job of local councils and police to decide it is.
I actually find this most concerning. Whatever you think of Mr Gough's actions, the correct way to deal with this is through the courts, which are there to uphold the law of the land. Whenever he has appeared in court in England (Scotland where he was inprisoned has different laws) he has either been found not guilty or charges have been dropped. This turn of events appears to be Eastleigh BC and Hampshire Police ignoring the courts and deciding between them what is and isn't lawful. If English law doesn't say something is illegal, its not the job of local councils and police to decide it is. SeanL4
  • Score: 0

9:10am Fri 1 Mar 13

laurence86 says...

Well Mr Gough your ASBO is not in vain, I for one now feel a bit more disillusioned with the authorities. Don’t worry though there are not enough police about to enforce ASBO’s
Well Mr Gough your ASBO is not in vain, I for one now feel a bit more disillusioned with the authorities. Don’t worry though there are not enough police about to enforce ASBO’s laurence86
  • Score: 0

9:29am Fri 1 Mar 13

Folkestone Saint says...

Odd that, I thought indecent exposure was against the law
Odd that, I thought indecent exposure was against the law Folkestone Saint
  • Score: 0

11:37am Fri 1 Mar 13

Sam_Walker123456 says...

As is often the case we Brits get our knickers (if we are wearing any) in a twist about things like this - especially if it exposes our own insecurities about our bodies.
Indecent exposure is no longer an offence:
"In England and Wales, the offence of "indecent exposure" and other sexual offences were replaced by the more specific and explicit Sexual Offences Act 2003. The Act does not mention nudity as such and is worded so as not to apply to skinny dipping, nude sunbathing, and similar activities. Current laws apply only to genital exposure with intent to shock those who do not want to see them."
So the case against the Naked Rambler depends on if his exposing his genitals was with intent to shock (I don't think anyone could class what he is doing as a sexual offence).
What do the police think they are protecting us from - he has nothing which we have not all seen before. Some might find it an unpleasant sight (he is no Daniel Craig) but I find the sight of half-clothed obese people waddling around in the summer far more unpleasant.
As is often the case we Brits get our knickers (if we are wearing any) in a twist about things like this - especially if it exposes our own insecurities about our bodies. Indecent exposure is no longer an offence: "In England and Wales, the offence of "indecent exposure" and other sexual offences were replaced by the more specific and explicit Sexual Offences Act 2003. The Act does not mention nudity as such and is worded so as not to apply to skinny dipping, nude sunbathing, and similar activities. Current laws apply only to genital exposure with intent to shock those who do not want to see them." So the case against the Naked Rambler depends on if his exposing his genitals was with intent to shock (I don't think anyone could class what he is doing as a sexual offence). What do the police think they are protecting us from - he has nothing which we have not all seen before. Some might find it an unpleasant sight (he is no Daniel Craig) but I find the sight of half-clothed obese people waddling around in the summer far more unpleasant. Sam_Walker123456
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Fri 1 Mar 13

laurence86 says...

I would be interested to find out how much of our tax has gone on issuing this ASBO, in police time and court costs, just to give a protestor more publicity.
I would be interested to find out how much of our tax has gone on issuing this ASBO, in police time and court costs, just to give a protestor more publicity. laurence86
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Fri 1 Mar 13

robertspet8 says...

laurence86 wrote:
I would be interested to find out how much of our tax has gone on issuing this ASBO, in police time and court costs, just to give a protestor more publicity.
I hope you do not go beyond rhetorical interest. Please do not waste more of our money by asking the authorities to let you know how much it cost under a freedom of information request :-)
[quote][p][bold]laurence86[/bold] wrote: I would be interested to find out how much of our tax has gone on issuing this ASBO, in police time and court costs, just to give a protestor more publicity.[/p][/quote]I hope you do not go beyond rhetorical interest. Please do not waste more of our money by asking the authorities to let you know how much it cost under a freedom of information request :-) robertspet8
  • Score: 0

8:17am Sat 2 Mar 13

JJ38JJ says...

People who do this are not only breaking the law they are obviously seeking attention. That's why cameras deliberately show something else when someone streaks at a televised sporting event.
But the Gazette turns it in to 3 stories each with a picture and makes the picture headline news.
Ignore him and he'll go away and get hypothermia elsewhere.
People who do this are not only breaking the law they are obviously seeking attention. That's why cameras deliberately show something else when someone streaks at a televised sporting event. But the Gazette turns it in to 3 stories each with a picture and makes the picture headline news. Ignore him and he'll go away and get hypothermia elsewhere. JJ38JJ
  • Score: 0

8:25am Sat 2 Mar 13

SeanL4 says...

JJ38JJ - but the point is he isn't breaking the law. There is no law against walking down the street naked.
As someone else pointed out there are many distasteful sights on our streets, especially in the summer, but they aren't illegal, and it's not the job of councils or police to make laws up
JJ38JJ - but the point is he isn't breaking the law. There is no law against walking down the street naked. As someone else pointed out there are many distasteful sights on our streets, especially in the summer, but they aren't illegal, and it's not the job of councils or police to make laws up SeanL4
  • Score: 0

10:38am Sat 2 Mar 13

JJ38JJ says...

SeanL4 wrote:
JJ38JJ - but the point is he isn't breaking the law. There is no law against walking down the street naked. As someone else pointed out there are many distasteful sights on our streets, especially in the summer, but they aren't illegal, and it's not the job of councils or police to make laws up
I'm aware of the debate and that his actions fall into a legal grey area. But my point is that the vast majority of people would not want to see him and he has to be some sort of nutter no matter how offensive or inoffensive. Media coverage is something he clearly seeks. Why give him it?
[quote][p][bold]SeanL4[/bold] wrote: JJ38JJ - but the point is he isn't breaking the law. There is no law against walking down the street naked. As someone else pointed out there are many distasteful sights on our streets, especially in the summer, but they aren't illegal, and it's not the job of councils or police to make laws up[/p][/quote]I'm aware of the debate and that his actions fall into a legal grey area. But my point is that the vast majority of people would not want to see him and he has to be some sort of nutter no matter how offensive or inoffensive. Media coverage is something he clearly seeks. Why give him it? JJ38JJ
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Sat 2 Mar 13

BugBear says...

You've got to admire his balls.
You've got to admire his balls. BugBear
  • Score: 1

1:23pm Wed 6 Mar 13

Jonty11 says...

Sean L4 Wrote
"This turn of events appears to be Eastleigh BC and Hampshire Police ignoring the courts and deciding between them what is and isn't lawful. "


Actually, ASBO's are decided by the courts - not by the local Plod or Council - they would have asked the Court for an ASBO, at the same time as they were prosecuting - up to the Courts then!

At the risk of opening the debate up, this is a grey area of law - some people may be shocked or offended by seeing him - so rather than berate the authorities for nicking him - why not ask the question of why he persists in rambling?

I'm all for freedom of speech/actions etc. but he rather than doing normal stuff like the rest of us do (and where a community might get very used to someone's chosen behaviour) ....he is actively seeking to impose his life choices on others - at a great cost to the public purse!
Sean L4 Wrote "This turn of events appears to be Eastleigh BC and Hampshire Police ignoring the courts and deciding between them what is and isn't lawful. " Actually, ASBO's are decided by the courts - not by the local Plod or Council - they would have asked the Court for an ASBO, at the same time as they were prosecuting - up to the Courts then! At the risk of opening the debate up, this is a grey area of law - some people may be shocked or offended by seeing him - so rather than berate the authorities for nicking him - why not ask the question of why he persists in rambling? I'm all for freedom of speech/actions etc. but he rather than doing normal stuff like the rest of us do (and where a community might get very used to someone's chosen behaviour) ....he is actively seeking to impose his life choices on others - at a great cost to the public purse! Jonty11
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Wed 6 Mar 13

Sam_Walker123456 says...

Jonty11, although I agree with most of what you say I do take issue with your last paragraph. He is not imposing his life choices on the rest of us anymore than somebody smoking in the street is - we do not have to strip-off or take up smoking. As to the cost to the public purse, the police could decide to ignore him and not waste any further money. How long would he persist if he was ignored and what harm is he doing to anyone? I thought we were a nation which embraced eccentrics - although I would be shy of doing so to Stephen Gough until he put his clothes on :-)
Jonty11, although I agree with most of what you say I do take issue with your last paragraph. He is not imposing his life choices on the rest of us anymore than somebody smoking in the street is - we do not have to strip-off or take up smoking. As to the cost to the public purse, the police could decide to ignore him and not waste any further money. How long would he persist if he was ignored and what harm is he doing to anyone? I thought we were a nation which embraced eccentrics - although I would be shy of doing so to Stephen Gough until he put his clothes on :-) Sam_Walker123456
  • Score: 0

7:01pm Wed 6 Mar 13

Jonty11 says...

Sam,

I rejoice that Britain is full of eccentrics (where I live, there are loads of them) but as much as I don't like people forcing politics or religion down my throat - neither do I like others imposing their views on me - which is essentially what he's doing. If he wanted to just promote naturism, he could do it in a lot of other ways.

Two of my best friends are naturists and I've stayed in naturist camp sites - I can completely see the appeal, but as with most things - there is a time and place for everything!

I suspect Mr Gough is doing the naturist cause no good at all.
Sam, I rejoice that Britain is full of eccentrics (where I live, there are loads of them) but as much as I don't like people forcing politics or religion down my throat - neither do I like others imposing their views on me - which is essentially what he's doing. If he wanted to just promote naturism, he could do it in a lot of other ways. Two of my best friends are naturists and I've stayed in naturist camp sites - I can completely see the appeal, but as with most things - there is a time and place for everything! I suspect Mr Gough is doing the naturist cause no good at all. Jonty11
  • Score: 0

11:36pm Fri 8 Mar 13

tomjones2012 says...

This is a serious abuse of the law. Public nudity is perfectly legal. Giving someone an ASBO for it, because it offends the police or council, is not on.

Personally, I find owners who allow their pets to foul the street to be offensive as it can pass on toxocariasis that can blind kids. Nudity doesn't.

Second-hand smoking, even outside can cause cancer. Nudity doesn't. Alcohol is responsible for untold crime and using NHS resources. Nudity doesn't.

Where are the ASBOs for these people?
This is a serious abuse of the law. Public nudity is perfectly legal. Giving someone an ASBO for it, because it offends the police or council, is not on. Personally, I find owners who allow their pets to foul the street to be offensive as it can pass on toxocariasis that can blind kids. Nudity doesn't. Second-hand smoking, even outside can cause cancer. Nudity doesn't. Alcohol is responsible for untold crime and using NHS resources. Nudity doesn't. Where are the ASBOs for these people? tomjones2012
  • Score: 0

8:17pm Sat 9 Mar 13

snakeops says...

Lead story quote... "HIS days of walking the streets of Great Britain naked are over for now after a court granted an application to give Stephen Gough an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)."

Not quite! Stephen Gough is still free to walk naked north of the border. His ASBO does not apply in Scotland.
Lead story quote... "HIS days of walking the streets of Great Britain naked are over for now after a court granted an application to give Stephen Gough an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)." Not quite! Stephen Gough is still free to walk naked north of the border. His ASBO does not apply in Scotland. snakeops
  • Score: 0

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