Author Topic: Steve Gouch update - he's out  (Read 15166 times)

Peter S

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Steve Gouch update - he's out
« on: September 03, 2015, 08:10:25 PM »
Our old friend Steve Gough has been released from prison. This - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34140955 - is an interview with a reporter on the BBC website.

For anyone who can't access the BBC site for geographical reasons, here's the text:


A man who has spent 10 years in prison because he goes naked in public has told the BBC he will continue his protest even if it means he has to spend the rest of his life in custody.
The former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord (Ken) Macdonald QC says it is not in the public interest for Stephen Gough to be prosecuted as he does not pose a danger to the public.
Mr Gough, known as the "Naked Rambler", was released from Winchester Prison on 14 August, aged 56, having served half of a 30-month sentence for breaching an anti-social behaviour order.
The cost to the taxpayer of his prosecution, imprisonment and legal appeals is estimated to be close to 1m.
He is currently walking from the Cotswolds to Eastleigh in Hampshire, clothed to avoid arrest, hoping to meet his two teenage children, whose childhoods he has largely missed because of the time he has spent in prison.
With the help of an OS map and grid reference, I found him in an open barn, complete with bats and the occasional rat, drying his walking socks on a blackberry bush, and packing up his sleeping bag and few belongings, ready for the day's walk.
'Freedom'
Mr Gough had a normal childhood, spent five years as a marine and had a stint with the Moonies, before starting a family. It was then that things changed dramatically. After what he refers to as an "epiphany" moment whilst walking through woods, he decided to dedicate his life to going naked in public.
He told me: "It's freedom to act according to what is appropriate. We are taught to be sensible and use common sense. So unless there is a good reason not to, why shouldn't we wear what we want, whether it's nothing or seven layers of clothing?"
In 2003 Mr Gough walked naked from Land's End to John O'Groats, earning the name the Naked Rambler. He has been frequently arrested for minor public order offences which criminalise threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour within sight of another person who may be caused harassment, alarm or distress.
That offence does not carry a prison sentence, just a fine. However, breaching the anti-social behaviour orders that he has been placed under has led to ever longer prison terms.
His most recent conviction, in October 2014, resulted in a 30-month sentence. He was refused the right to appear naked in court at his trial and was tried in his absence. He went on to make legal history in June when he appeared naked via video link at the Court of Appeal where his appeal against conviction and sentence were dismissed.
Mr Gough has also had a case alleging infringement of his human rights to a private and family life, and freedom of expression, dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights.
Almost all his 10 years in prison have been spent in solitary confinement, often being locked up for 23 hours a day, because of his refusal to wear clothes.
Some people support Mr Gough going naked, some find it funny, and some find it deeply offensive, but should he go to prison for 10 years, more than some rapists and armed robbers, just for doing it?
'Harmless eccentric'
Not according to the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, who told me: "This man is not a danger to anybody, he's a nuisance. He's an eccentric, as far as one can tell he's a harmless eccentric. He's spent around 10 years in prison, that's 40,000 a year. This seems to be a draconian, quite inappropriate response to his behaviour."
Lord Macdonald believes it is not in the public interest to prosecute Mr Gough.
"He's served 10 years, which on normal remission terms would be the equivalent of a 15-20 year sentence in prison," he said.
"Very few rapists get that sort of sentence, not many murderers serve more than that. Prison should be for people who represent a risk to the public, not for people who annoy the public in the way that he seems to from time to time."
I asked Mr Gough whether he would continue to go naked in public, even if it meant spending the rest of his life in prison.
He told me: "How the future will pan out I can't guarantee, but my feeling is I am continuing. That's my deep down gut feeling. That I am continuing and it will not end here. I really can't see that this country would sentence someone to life in prison just for being naked in public. But if that's what it will mean I am prepared for that."
Once he has seen his children, Mr Gough intends to resume going naked in public. He will ramble uphill, down dale and, in all likelihood, back to jail.


peter
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jbeegoode

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 02:18:47 AM »
Well, a harmless eccentric with more balls than Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald could ever muster...hmm, does that make us all eccentric or just the one that stands up and gets arrested?
 
Now that he is the former director, I wonder if the new one will carry the same opinion, and if this statement transfers over as a hard to change ruling.
Jbee
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reubenT

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2015, 06:48:00 AM »
Glad he's out.      Putting a guy in prison just for hiking naked is like telling God he made a mistake when he had us being born naked.    I don't know why they make an issue out of it.

midnightrider

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2015, 06:29:58 PM »
I think it  is no issue, it is just a stupid power play !

Cheers,
Paul

Bob Knows

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's been arrested again. He still won't go hide.
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2015, 04:08:17 PM »
Apparently Steve has been arrested for being naked again.  See linked article.

I agree with this comment from the article.

"Yeah right. If they can spend a million pounds and waste time depriving a British citizen of ten years of his freedom for doing nothing offensive then we are not as civilised a society as I had hoped."

His arrests are brining more and more public attention to public nudity and public criticism of the police for wasting tax money arresting someone for being naked. Stephen has done more to promote acceptance of public nudity in the UK over the past 10 years than all the nudist organizations combined. Many of the nudist organizations don't like him because he won't go hide.  Public nudity does not support commercial nude resorts, so nudist organizations often won't support public nudity.

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Royal-Marine-Naked-Rambler-arrested-weeks-prison/story-27800038-detail/story.html
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nudewalker

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2015, 04:20:48 PM »
I don't want to seem off topic here but I see the same thing in our country. Look who is leading in the polls for president; all those who are not part of the political establishment. I think most of us are tired of seeing tax dollars wasted on such foolishness.
 Same here, police complain they are understaffed and under funded but they insist on arresting and prosecuting harmless criminals! I agree Bob, the comment in the article sums it up! What a waste of time and money.
"Always do what you are afraid to do"-Emerson

Davie

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2015, 05:09:58 PM »
Ahhh I think he's back in again. See here

The merrygoround starts again

Davie  8)

jbeegoode

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2015, 05:30:31 PM »
According to the BN statistics, only a very VERY small minority object to his body. This means that the law is out of order.

 I have strong feelings for the principle that all should be treated equally under the law as human right. If not, it is a dangerous fascist practice. As the guy said, it's like burkas for women, a special law for someone with the excuse that others can't control themselves and think of lust.

An unnatural state.

 A law that doesn't fit the offense, diminishes and controls. A burka/fashion industry exploiting a conformity with inhuman response.

How come no one hears the choir? Or do they?
Jbee
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Peter S

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2015, 11:43:09 PM »
Once again he has been arrested not for being naked but for breaching the ASBO which tells him not to go naked, even though being naked in public is legal.
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milfmog

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2015, 12:24:58 PM »
There is an article in the Telegraph by Matthew Scott, Steve Gough's barrister. It asks some very sensible questions and clearly demonstrates that not everyone who works in our legal system is an ass:

Naked rambler: why have we spent over 300k imprisoning this harmless eccentric?

Have fun,


Ian.
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Davie

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2015, 04:10:36 PM »
There may be a silver lining in all this. Whether or not you agree with him his case has shown that the law is an ass! It shows the fact that ASBOs are made-up law outside of parliaments wishes and shows how an eccentric can be punished more that a serious criminal. It took the prosecution of a guy asking if a Policeman's horse was gay to show how silly the can can be.

Gough is showing by his actions how heavy handed the law can be. There will come a point when society as a whole will say, "Up with this we will not put." The law needs to he respected by the majority, when it is not it has to change - I suggest that will come but we know not when.

Davie  8)

Bob Knows

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2015, 04:19:29 PM »
There is an article in the Telegraph by Matthew Scott, Steve Gough's barrister. It asks some very sensible questions and clearly demonstrates that not everyone who works in our legal system is an ass:

Naked rambler: why have we spent over 300k imprisoning this harmless eccentric?
Have fun,
Ian.


Yes, the whole Naked Rambler epic clearly demonstrates that the entire UK legal system is a complete ass waging war against the people.  Even if a man obeys the law as Steve always has, you can be attacked, brutalized, and imprisoned for life.  The law and the courts are evil asses.

They pretend and lie to the people, saying that we can elect MPs or Representatives to enact laws.   They lie to the people saying that if we obey the laws we won't be arrested.  But their "ASBO" demonstrates that they can just say "fuck you!" and throw you in prison even if you obeyed all the laws enacted by those we elected.

Some people in the US have started shooting them on sight.  They act bewildered. 



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milfmog

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2015, 10:26:13 AM »
Another great article about Steve Gough can be read here.

Have fun,


Ian.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

Davie

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2015, 10:48:21 AM »
A very interesting article and we will wait for the result of the next court appearance on 18 December with interest

Davie  8)

jaydee

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Re: Steve Gouch update - he's out
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2015, 12:57:32 PM »
It's strange to think that this man has spent the best part of a decade in prison not for breaking the law, but for defying social convention.  It's been pointed out by a few people that the cumulative length of his sentences is more than is generally given out to those who actually break the law and cause real physical harm to others.  It seems to me that the position of the various judges and prosecutors involved over the years is out of step with the views of everyone else.  Most people couldn't care less, and those that do generally just dismiss him, at worst, as a "weirdo".
It's a tricky subject, and I think it comes down to one's personal interpretation of the concept of "freedom".  Freedom of speech, for example, does not proscribe your right to say whatever you please, but it doesn't make you immune from the potential consequences of what you say, either.  I read Mark Haskell Smith's Naked at Lunch and the chapter on the saga of San Fransisco's laws on public nudity raised an interesting point.  The simple act of nudity in the city was never a problem.  It only became a problem when individuals abused the freedom they had been afforded and used it as a means to deliberately provoke.  This has parallels with the gun laws of certain states.  Many states allow open carry of firearms, however when certain groups used this right to justify walking into a McDonalds with a loaded AK strapped to their back, then it became less an issue of them exercising their rights and more one of causing a public disturbance.
The Gough case is very different to this.  It has never been suggested, not even by his harshest critics, that he does what he does out a desire for sexual gratification.  He isn't a flasher or a public pest, just some guy who doesn't wear clothes.  Eventually, I think that everyone will simply get tired of wasting time and money prosecuting him and simply let him go.  It'll only take one judge or magistrate to dismiss the case and that'll be that.