Edward Rooney

Edward Rooney is the news editor at the Herald on Sunday.

Nude jogger ruling sign of growing tolerance

Andrew Pointon - when getting back to nature really means getting back to nature. Photo / John Borren
Andrew Pointon - when getting back to nature really means getting back to nature. Photo / John Borren

The lawyer for a man cleared of charges for jogging in the nude says the case is proof of New Zealand's growing tolerance.

Andrew Lyall Pointon, 47, was out jogging in just a pair of shoes when he was seen by a woman at 8.30am in a forest near Tauranga in August last year.

She complained to police and Mr Pointon was arrested three days later as he completed another naked run in the forest near the Oropi Bike Park.

He was charged with offensive behaviour and found guilty in Tauranga District Court last December.

An appeal was thrown out in June, but a second appeal was yesterday upheld by Justice Paul Heath in the High Court at Tauranga.

Pointon's lawyer Michael Bott said Judge Heath's decision is a matter of common sense and largely reflects New Zealand's attitudes.

"It's a perfectly sensible decision.

"What it points to is the growing tolerance in New Zealand of diverse lifestyles and freedom of expression," he said.

"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. He was 20km away from a built-up area."

Bott said he did not believe the case would lead to widespread nudity.

"All it does is encourage people to understand what is simply people expressing themselves and be tolerant of that.

"It promotes mirth, rather than condemnation."

Bott - a lawyer who specialises in civil liberties cases - added he would not be taking up the pastime.

"The last thing you'd want is a melanoma on your bits."

- Herald on Sunday

- Herald on Sunday

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