Naked rambler Stephen Gough has been warned he could spend the rest of his life in jail unless he puts on some clothes. Gough, who has become notorious for trying to walk around the UK naked, was arrested within seconds of being freed from Perth Prison
on 17 December.
He was found guilty yesterday of breaching the peace by walking naked in the street and refusing a request by police to put on some clothes. On the past two occasions when Gough has been released from jail, officers from Tayside
Police were waiting at the prison gates to re-arrest him.
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told Gough he would not have to be crystal ball gazing to realise that the same process would occur again and again and again .
Gough – who has
spent the bulk of the past seven years in jail for identical crimes – yesterday turned down an offer to walk free on condition that he get dressed.
Foulis told him he would consider granting him bail to go back to his warmer home county of
Hampshire if he agreed to put some clothes on, but Gough said he would not. A number of your recent convictions have arisen in similar circumstances, the sheriff said. You have more or less been apprehended when you have been released from
prison. I suppose it doesn't need an expert in crystal ball gazing to anticipate that if I impose a custodial sentence then in so many months a similar scenario will arise. When the day comes for you to be released from a prison establishment, you will
be apprehended and the same process gone through again.
Gough said he accepted it was potentially the case that he could remain in jail forever – apart from the few seconds of freedom he enjoys every six months or so.
trial, he compared himself to the African-American civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks, and said he believed his behaviour was reasonable . Gough said: Essentially, this is about individual freedom and people's tolerance to other people being
different. I understand a lot of people will disagree and have strong feelings about it. Walking the amount of miles I have, through towns and cities, it is on the whole a very small moral minority who act in an irrational way. I believe I am behaving in
a reasonable way.
Gough was allowed to conduct his own defence in open court while completely naked and the sheriff said he would consider whether that was a contempt of court when he is sentencing. He warned Gough that he could be jailed for
upwards of 18 months.
Scotland's easy offence at the Naked Rambler has cost tax payers £500,000
Stephen Gough has been behind bars almost continually for six years for refusing to wear clothes either in public, in court
or in prison. And it looks as though the bill for keeping him will continue to rise because every time he is freed, he is arrested again for going starkers.
In all, he has been convicted of 17 breaches of the peace for walking naked since he first
hit the headlines in 2003 as he walked from Land's End to John O'Groats naked.
Gough is currently serving his longest sentence of 657 days, imposed at Perth Sheriff Court last month.
Sheriff Richard McFarlane has claimed this outrageous
injustice is not the fault of the authorities, but that it was all down to Gough. He said: Can you help me as to when this ridiculous cycle of offending will stop? A lot of deserving causes could benefit from the unnecessary cost you are putting the
country to. Your conduct is verging on selfish because of the costs.
It costs around £ 35,000 a year to keep the average prisoner but Gough spends most of his time behind bars in segregation, which is
more expensive. The total bill is also made up of legal aid, court bills and wasted police time.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: It's unbelievable that this ongoing case has been allowed to waste so much
taxpayers' money. A sensible resolution has to be found, sending the naked rambler back to prison benefits no one.
Stephen Gough, nicknamed the Naked Rambler, has vowed to continue walking around Britain with no clothes on after tasting his first day of freedom after being jailed by Scotland for 6 years.
Former marine Stephen Gough has spent the vast
majority of the past decade behind bars because of Scottish intolerance and injustice.
He initially earned the title Naked Rambler by walking unclothed from Land's End to John O'Groats after quitting his job as a lorry driver.
He was spoken
to by police immediately after his release, but was then allowed to go on his way in an apparent shift in Tayside Police force policy. On the last few occasions he has been immediately arrested by officers waiting for him at the gates, but yesterday he
was given the go-ahead to walk off despite being naked.
Following his release he said: My opinion is that the police have thought 'the guy's not going to give up so let's have a think about it.
He revealed that he had spent the vast
majority of his time in solitary confinement in maximum security Perth Prison - although he said life inside flew by.
The Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has been arrested three days after he was released from prison.
Gough, a former Royal Marine who hikes across the country naked, was arrested in Townhill, Dunfermline, by policemen from Fife Constabulary.
He was released from Perth Prison on Tuesday, having spent the past six years in the Scottish jail.
A spokesman for Fife Constabulary said he was arrested following complaints from members of the public and has been charged with a supposed
breach of the peace.
The Naked Rambler's supporters on Facebook have made an official complaint to the Fife Constabulary
Re Arrest of Mr Stephen Gough on the afternoon of 20th July 2012 whilst in the course of
peacefully eating his lunch unattired
I refer to the ruling on Breach of the Peace, in 2001 in the High Court of Justiciary, where Lord Coulsfield held that breach of the peace required conduct severe enough to cause alarm to
ordinary people and threaten serious disturbance to the community and that mere annoyance or irritation were insufficient .
Misapplication of the legislation governed by this ruling would in itself constitute Breach of
the Peace by any individual(s) conducting such misapplication. Fife Constabulary is hereby on notice to provide indisputable evidence, including a physical witness, of serious disturbance to the community .
In this regard,
this message is being copied to Professional Standards and constitutes a formal complaint.
A sheriff in Kirkcaldy has asked for mental health checks on Stephen Gough after the naked rambler broke down in court.
In his emotional final plea, Gough, heavily bearded and gaunt, referred to allegations made by the persecutor, Brian
Robertson, and complaints from two civilian witnesses about the alleged impact on their children of seeing him walking naked through Townhill, near Dunfermline. His voice breaking before he began audibly sobbing, Gough said: There's nothing about me
as a human being that is indecent or alarming or offensive. That's where I'm coming from, which is deep inside.
Sheriff James Williamson told him:
There were certain points in your evidence and certain
points in your summing up where I was concerned about your emotional behaviour, and I was a bit concerned as to whether or not you were in control of yourself. I want somebody independent to see whether your mental health is all that is should be
because, in the absence of any good reason otherwise, you're going to end up serving prison sentence after prison sentence.
Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has been jailed for a further five months after refusing to get dressed and go home to England. He has been jailed ever since 25th August 2006. So his sentence has now totalled 6 years and 4 months.
Gough appeared in
court suitably naked for sentencing at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, Fife.
He was found guilty last month of committing a supposed breach of the peace by strolling naked near a swing park where children were playing in Dunfermline, also Fife, and
refusing to put on clothes.
Gough who insists he is not a naturist and claims his naked rambles are a protest , was initially removed from the dock after only five minutes when he refused to sit down so his privates were hidden by the
wooden dock. After he was brought back in, and agreed to sit, the court heard he had refused to meet social workers and so no assessment was available.
Persecutor Brian Robertson said the Crown was prepared to help him go back to England if he
Sheriff James Williamson told Gough, that he was concerned that he had not met or co-operated with social workers drawing up the background report ordered. The sheriff said: Will you meet with them and assist them?
Gough responded, No, not really , Sheriff Williamson said he had been left with no choice but to jail him for five months.
[So why don't the authorities transfer him to a prison near his home in Hampshire whilst he is in custody?]
Stephen Gough, known as the naked rambler, has been fined after being found guilty of nine public order 'offences' for walking nude in public places.
Gough pleaded not guilty to the charges of behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or
But district Judge Anthony Calloway said members of the public had been distressed at seeing Gough nude.
Payment of the £ 1,800 fine was waived in lieu of time served in prison.
Charles Nightingale, persecuting, said in several of the offences Gough was seen by parents with young children who were 'shocked' and 'alarmed' at seeing him naked.
Tom Stevens, defending, said his client believed his nudity was allowed under
Article 10 of the Human Rights Act which protects freedom of expression.
Gough remains in prison as he awaits trial for a further charge of an alleged breach of an anti-social behaviour order banning him from being naked in public. He is due to
appear at Southampton Crown Court on 19 June.
A man known as the naked rambler has lost a high court challenge against a conviction for supposedly violating public order when he walked through a town centre wearing only walking boots, socks and a hat.
Two judges in London rejected an
appeal by Stephen Gough who says it is his human right to be naked in public.
Gough was convicted in March at Calderdale magistrates court in Halifax, West Yorkshire , of a breach of the Public Order Act relating to a 15-minute morning walk
through the town with his genitalia on plain view .
Dismissing the appeal, Brian Leveson, President of the Queen's bench division of the high court, and Mr Justice Openshaw, ruled that the district judge who dealt with the case at the
magistrates court was clearly entitled to conclude that, by walking through a town centre entirely naked, he was violating public order .
At an appeal hearing earlier this month, the two judges heard submissions from a barrister on Gough's
behalf that he posed no threat to the public, and was not abusive or insulting -- he was doing no more than walking in his natural state without interfering with others, not promoting what he does or challenging those who may disagree .
Counsel for the director of public persecutions had argued that his conduct was plainly
disorderly behaviour within the meaning of the Public Order Act.
Leveson claimed there was nothing passive about Gough's conduct that day in that he knew full well that many members of the public would both be alarmed and
distressed by the sight of his naked body whether or not others would take a more benign view and whatever the origins or psychological reasons for that alarm and distress .
The Naked Rambler has been jailed for 16 months for public nudity after a trial in which he was denied access. The Jury took two minutes to find Stephen Gough guilty of breaching order designed to prevent him appearing nude in public
Stephen Gough was
not allowed into court to address the jury because he refused to put on any clothes. Recorder John Williams told Gough:
I'm afraid there is going to be a revolving door in and out of prison, because you are intent on
flouting these orders and there is absolutely no way you are going to comply with them.
Your refusal is that you genuinely feel that it is some way in breach of your rights, but unfortunately the courts are of the view that they
are not. I would like to hope that when you leave prison you will not leave in the state that you are today, but I know that is a vain hope.
The judge had earlier told the jury:
He would like to
address you as naked as the day he was born, but I will not let him do that.
Comment: Good on the Naked Rambler, more public nudity would be a good thing
We're continually being exposed to sexualised nudity, but it's rare to see a middle-aged man naked in public. During the day, before the watershed, we see hundreds of advertisements for gorgeous, semi-nude women moaning in ecstasy
because they are enjoying their yoghurt or shampoo. Go and stand in any gym, cafe or shop with a TV on, and count the seconds until you see cleavage. For more than 40 years, the Sun newspaper has been publishing pictures of nipples that readers can gaze
at over breakfast. Why is it OK to hint at highly sexualised nudity all day long and then persecute a normal man for getting naked as he goes about his business?
The Naked Rambler, Stephen Gough, has lost his case at the European Court of Human Rights where he claimed he had a right to be naked in public. He had argued that his repeated arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment for being naked in public
and his treatment in detention violated his rights.
The court unanimously found there had been no violation of Articles 8 and 10 of the Convention. Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has lost his challenge in the European Court of Human Rights of the
sentence was one year, nine months and 18 days. The ECHR ruled:
The applicant's imprisonment is the consequence of his repeated violation of the criminal law in full knowledge of the consequences, through conduct which
he knew full well not only goes against the standards of accepted public behaviour in any modern democratic society but also is liable to be alarming and morally and otherwise offensive to other, unwarned members of the public going about their ordinary
The court described Gough's case as troubling but ruled that relevant and sufficient measures had been taken against him by the police and legal authorities which saw him arrested in 2011. They were meeting a
pressing social need in response to repeated anti-social conduct by Gough. The ECHR stated:
Even though, cumulatively, the penalties imposed on the applicant undoubtedly did entail serious consequences for him,
the court cannot find in the circumstances of his case, having regard in particular to his own responsibility for his plight, that the public authorities in Scotland unjustifiably interfered with his exercise of freedom of expression. Accordingly, no
violation of Article 10 of the Convention has been established.
Offsite Comment: Stephen Gough and the European Court
British Naturism very much welcomes the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that nudity is a means of expression and that Article 10 of the European Convention of Human rights applies to nudity. This is a preliminary analysis of the court's
ruling regarding Stephen Gough. The judgement only considers some aspects of the case, and there are no surprises, but it does establish some points of law that are important for Naturism and the fight against prudery and body-shame.