|overgenomen uit: Yahoo! News, 23 september 2002 (http://news.yahoo.com/)|
|Shoes Spare Toronto Gays From Nudity Charges
TORONTO (Reuters) - Seven men who bared all in Toronto's Gay Pride Parade have been cleared of public nudity charges because they were wearing shoes, their lawyer said on Thursday.
The men, from a social group calling itself Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity (TNT!MEN), were arrested and charged under Canada's Criminal Code after they marched in the annual festival wearing only footwear -- and sunscreen.
But prosecutors dropped the charges this week after conceding there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction, said lawyer Peter Simm, a TNT!MEN member himself.
Simm said his clients were technically not naked even though one had a "sort of a codpiece on."
"The law is very straightforward if someone is absolutely and completely bereft of clothing...however things become a little more complicated if there is a scrap of apparel anywhere on the body and the Crown has to show that the person is indecently clad which gets into what the current Canadian legal test is for indecency," he said.
"Because everyone wore at least footwear the Crown had to prove indecency and it couldn't."
Simm said his clients, two of them visitors from Texas, were relieved at the decision but upset that they were arrested in the first place.
TNT!MEN nude marchers have joined in the gay festival, which attracts tens of thousands of marchers and onlookers in downtown Toronto each year, ever since the group was first formed in 1997.
But before this year they had never been arrested.
"Besides the fun of marching in the parade, the marchers did have some serious intent as well, addressing issues of body shame and also what is regarded in the gay community as 'body fascism'," Simm said, adding that the men arrested ranged in age and size -- the youngest was 25 and the oldest was 61.
The Crown, worried about more such incidents, wrote to Simm saying the decision to drop charges should not be seen as a precedent for more incidents in the future.
(Lesley Wroughton, Reuters Toronto newsroom +416-941-8101, firstname.lastname@example.org)