Freebeach Association's Mark Hayter with a friend.
Freebeach Association's Mark Hayter with a friend.

Oh bummer, convicted nudist loses appeal

NUDISTS have been dealt a bitter blow with an appeal judge upholding a wilful exposure conviction at the Sunshine Coast's unofficial "clothing optional beach" Alexandria Bay.

The decision by Judge DCJ Jones in the Maroochydore District Court means police have fresh case law to back them when charging people nude sunbathing at the popular Noosa spot.  

A petition calling on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to make A-Bay Queensland's first official nude beach has also reached a dead end.  

Free Beaches Australia's Mark Hayter said the Premier had advised she was "too busy" to consider the matter.  

But he said nudists were continuing to use the beach despite the court decision and next month's "nude carnival" at A-Bay was going ahead.  

Should nudists face criminal charges?

This poll ended on 18 February 2016.

Current Results

Yes, you can't walk around naked anywhere else why should you at the beach

14%

No, but there should be penalties for taking your clothes off at the beach

5%

No, stop being so hung up, let people do what they want

79%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


David Charles Winston appealed the Maroochydore Magistrates Court's Jun 17 decision to find him guilty of one charge of wilful exposure after he went for a nude swim at A-Bay on January 11 last year.

The evidence showed Mr Winston was visiting Noosa and had enquired where he could swim and sunbathe naked from the information centre.  

He was told A-Bay had been known as a nudist beach for some 30 years.  

The court record showed there were about 20 people on the day he visited, 15 who were undressed.  

He was caught by a police officer while he was in the shallows and charged.  

Mr Winston argued the court made an "error at law" with his conviction and used the well-known Coolum case of McAlister versus Wenzel for some of the legal argument.  

This landmark ruling by Senior Judge Trafford- Walker in May 2008 cleared nudist Ken Wenzel of a wilful exposure charge at Coolum's Third Bay on appeal.  

But Judge Jones' decision, delivered in December, effectively overshadows this.  

Judge Jones also questioned Judge Trafford-Walker's use of rhetorical questions in the Wenzel case concerning the definition of willful exposure.  

He said to prove an offence there had to be exposure of genitals, it must have been wilful, in a public place and no reasonable excuse existed for it.  

On viewing the evidence, he argued this was the case and dismissed the appeal.  

Noosa police head Senior Sergeant Steve McReight said the judgment "made a clear line now".  

"Someone can be caught wilfuly exposing themselves regardless of the date, time and place," he said.  

However, charging people at A-Bay wasn't going to be top priority.  

"All our policing is priority policy," he said.  

"If we get complaint, we will investigate and a judgment will be made on the evidence."  

He said next month's nude carnival would provide an "interesting challenge".  

"My job is to look after the law as it is. Now the court has given us a practical interpretation we can work with."  


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