Cheeseman v DPP (1991) The Times 2 November

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(1991) The Times 2 November

Cheeseman v Director of Public Prosecutions

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION

BINGHAM LJ AND WATERHOUSE J

19 October 1990. The following judgments were delivered.

WATERHOUSE J

(giving the first judgment at the invitation of Bingham LJ). The appellant defendant in this case appeals by way of case stated against his conviction on 26 September 1989 in the Leicester City Magistrates’ Court of an offence of having, on 3 January 1989, wilfully and indecently exposed his person in a street to the annoyance of the passengers, contrary to s 28 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. The place where the offence was alleged to have been committed was a public lavatory in Leicester, which would not appear to come within the definition of a street but the meaning of ‘street’ for the purposes of s 28 of the 1847 Act and for some other purposes was extended by s 81 of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907 by the following words:

‘Any place of public resort or recreation ground belonging to, or under the control of, the local authority, and any unfenced ground adjoining or abutting upon any street in an urban district shall … be deemed to be a street for the purposes of … so much of section twenty-eight of that Act as relates to the following offences … ‘

There then follows a list of six categories of offence, including the one with which we are concerned.

The facts found by the justices were that on the day in question the appellant was walking between two public lavatories in Abbey Park, Leicester and that at 1.40 pm he entered the Pavilion lavatory and stood at the urinal. In that lavatory were two police officers on duty in plain clothes because of complaints that had been made about earlier incidents. Both officers saw the applicant masturbating his erect penis for a period of ten minutes and, when questioned, the appellant admitted doing so to relieve tension. Other persons had used the lavatory before the appellant but only the two police officers were present whilst he was there.

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