West Law Report

No privacy for male breasts

Posted in Privacy, Sexual Offences, Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on June 21, 2008

From The TimesJune 18, 2008

No privacy for male breasts
Regina v Bassett in the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
Court of Appeal, Criminal Division

Published June 18, 200[8]

Regina v Bassett

The reference to “breasts” in section 68(1)(a) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, defining voyeurism, did not include male breasts.

The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division (Lord Justice Hughes, Mr Justice Treacy and Sir Peter Cresswell) so held on May 14, 2008, in allowing an appeal by Kevin Bassett against his conviction on April 23, 2007, at St Albans Crown Court (Judge Plumstead and a jury) of one count of voyeurism of a man in a swimming pool changing room, contrary to section 67(1) of the 2003 Act, for which he was given an 18-month community supervision order.

LORD JUSTICE HUGHES said that the principal question was whether the man watched had been doing a private act in a place which in the circumstances could reasonably be expected to provide privacy and whether since he was bare-chested and wearing trunks, breasts were exposed within the meaning of the statutory definition.

Casual observation by changing-room users created no offence of voyeurism, even if they gained sexual gratification from what they saw.

A man need not expect privacy of his upper torso. The statute only referred to female breasts.

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