Naked jogger's victory in court

By Kiri Gillespie

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A Tauranga naturist has won an appeal over an offensive-behaviour conviction he received for jogging naked.

Andrew Pointon, 47, was charged after a woman reported him jogging in just a pair of sneakers at McLaren Falls Park in August last year.

He was found guilty in the Tauranga District Court last December but an appeal against the ruling was upheld by Justice Paul Heath in the High Court at Tauranga on Friday.

Pointon described the ruling as momentous.

"The judge ruled in favour of us, after a year-and-a-half. It's been quite a long road,'' he said.

In cases of public nakedness, police refer to the Summary Offences Act 1981 and consider obscene/indecent exposure, offensive behaviour, or disorderly behaviour.

In cases of lewd behaviour, they look to the Crimes Act.

Pointon said Justice Heath ruled fairly regarding the nude jog.

"It's not offensive behaviour when you go out in the middle of the country to begin a run naked,'' Pointon said.

"A few days before there was the Boobs on Bikes in Tauranga. It wasn't offensive behaviour when you had ladies topless in the centre of Tauranga one day, then a man going out of town and using his discretion to the public and he is prosecuted.''

Pointon said the legal matters surrounding the offensive-behaviour charge were a waste of money and time, including $10,000 of his own.

But Friday's ruling was a victory, he said.

"It's my Berlin Wall, where I've crashed through the barrier here in Tauranga and broken that first section of the wall, the conservative people here.''

Pointon's lawyer Michael Bott said the ruling reflected a growing tolerance for nudity.

"The judge pointed out that Mr Pointon was going out of his way to be away from most people and was being sensitive to their needs. There was no element of exhibitionism.''

Pointon celebrated the appeal being upheld with a naked boogie board ride at Papamoa Beach on Saturday and yesterday joined nearly 300 others inamass skinny dip in the same area.

At the time of the nude run, one of Pointon's neighbours said he was a "lovely neighbour''.

"He did tell us he likes to do a bit of nude sunbathing in his garden and that's his business.

"It's not my cup of tea but I would rather live next door to a naturist than a P lab,'' the neighbour said.

"I don't think it's a big deal. It gave me a bit of a giggle. People get in a stew over it and say, `Oh what if children


see'? but in my opinion there are more pressing worries about the kids, like bullying or teen drinking.''

Pointon organised a controversial Tauranga New Zealand World Naked Bike Ride in March.

The event was criticised because it was viewed by Papamoa community members as provocation and offensive.

Police were not available for comment on the matter yesterday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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