It's 2014: Lawyer says time for legal nude beaches
A LEADING criminal lawyer has called for a debate on the legalisation of designated nudist beaches.
It follows comments by a magistrate questioning a police crackdown at Alexandria Bay in Noosa National Park.
"It's 2014. We are adults, it's time for a debate," Bill Potts, a practising lawyer of 33 years, said.
"We live in a society that wants to protect our children and be free of people's bad behaviour."
"But we don't want to be too prudish. If it is remote and designed, it would hardly be offensive."
Magistrate John Hodgins said the laws around disrobing at the Noosa nude playground needed clarification.
Mr Hodgins was dealing with a case of wilful exposure against 54-year-old Ricky William Ross.
"It's 2014. We are adults, it's time for a debate," Bill Potts.
He said that because police usually turned a blind eye to the well known, long-time, nudist beach, he was surprised by the latest charge to come before him.
Mr Hodgins said while the court usually operated in black and white, sometimes there were shades of grey.
"This is one of those things that need to be clarified," he said.
Noosa Heads Senior Constable Michael Phelan said the police acted only on legitimate complaints and then appropriate action was taken.
However, he said policing was guided by community expectations.
"Out of sight, out of mind," he said.
Sen Const Phelan said the patrols were a response to nudists taking regular walks along public places such as the Tanglewood or Hells Gate tracks.
"When visitors, families and people, especially with young kids, are confronted with this, they find it very disconcerting," he said.
Police prosecutor Melissa Campbell told Noosa Magistrates Court that a complaint from the public had led to the arrest of Mr Ross on a charge of wilful exposure.
Ms Campbell said police found him exposing his genitals in a sand dune.
When the defendant heard the charges he became agitated and appeared not to agree with them.
However, after his solicitor explained that it was the lawful wording used for nudity charges, he pleaded guilty.
The defence lawyer said that Mr Ross had been nude sunbathing and he had no intention to offend.
Mr Hodgins placed Mr Ross on a three-month good behaviour bond.