One of the masked men who was part of a group that confronted three teenagers on an Auckland train has been convicted for his part in the crime.
Christopher Dale Burke, a painter from Hamilton, fought hard to be discharged without conviction on a charge of indecent exposure, saying that the stigma of a sexual offending conviction would impact his job, future travel and any school camps he might one day attend.
But community magistrate Kathryn Wilson said the consequences did not outweigh the offending and his conviction could not be hidden from the public.
"This is not just a small event," Wilson told Burke at his sentencing in the Hamilton District Court this afternoon.
"You exposed your penis to children at 5.40 on the train."
The court heard how Burke and four other men, dressed in Mr Four Square costumes complete with masks, were intoxicated on a train between Britomart and Kingsland when the incident happened on August 12 last year.
Burke approached one of two girls and a boy, aged 14 and 15, who were travelling home that evening, and exposed his genitals.
The 31-year-old previously pleaded guilty to "intentionally and obscenely" exposing himself.
"You said to the female students 'Do you want to put your hand in my pouch?'," Wilson said.
"And you said it would be a 'lucky dip'. You then unzipped your pants and exposed yourself about nine or 10 times. You were observed touching your genitals."
Wilson then opted to stop reading the summary of facts.
Burke's lawyer Russell Boot said it was an act of stupidity fuelled by alcohol and encouragement from Burke's friends.
"His friends were chanting his name ... it was viewed as something of a laugh rather than particularly sexual or offensive. It's akin to someone doing a streak at a sporting match."
Boot said the offending was minor and it was not like Burke went to a school or playground and exposed himself to children there.
He argued that Burke's painting business would be affected if he was convicted, it could hinder his chance of travelling and as someone born in the UK whose parents still lived there Burke would need to travel, and if he was vetted for school camp he probably wouldn't be eligible to attend.
But the police prosecutor said there was no evidence that Burke's business would be affected and that people hiring him had the right to know about his behaviour.
Police also pointed out that Burke showed no immediate intention to travel anywhere.
Burke was already unable to travel to Canada for five years due to a previous drink driving conviction but he would still be allowed to travel to Australia or the UK with the latest conviction.
And the court heard Burke did not have any children so if and when he might want to attend a school camp with his own children a significant amount of time would have passed.
Police also said Burke had tarnished the reputation of the Auckland Darts Masters event the group were heading to that night, any other costumed event such as the Hamilton Sevens were families would not want to risk seeing such behaviour, and the image of Four Square itself after the story made headlines around the world.
Burke laughed at this suggestion in the dock.
Wilson said she considered the offending at the middle range of the scale and refused to discharge without conviction.
"You're 31 years old. You exposed yourself more than once. You didn't try to stop it, you continued on. You're not a preschooler. You know better."
She sentenced Burke to a $400 fine and $130 court costs.
In November Giuseppe Lyle Vassalini , a 32-year-old manager, escaped a conviction for assault over the same incident, after a Christchurch District Court judge accepted the consequences of the conviction were out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending.
During the attack one of the men grabbed the 14-year-old boy before being pulled away by another member of the group.
Vassalini then shoved the boy, causing him to fall against the side of the train. The defendant's head collided with the victim's face.
The boy suffered a swollen lip but did not require medical treatment.