Conviction quashed as Court of Appeal rule men don't have breasts

Friday 16 May 2008

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The case involved a defendant who covertly videoed another male in the men's showers at his local swimming baths.

The Sexual Offences Act requires that the complainant's breasts, buttocks or genitalia are exposed or only covered with underwear and that the complainant is in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Tom Wainwright, barrister for Mr Bassett's defence team, appealed on two grounds. Firstly, that as the complainant was wearing swimming trunks, his buttocks and genitalia were not exposed and the reference to 'breasts' in the legislation was only intended to refer to women. The Court of Appeal agreed and the conviction was quashed.

Secondly, whether someone using the showers in a swimming pool has an expectation of privacy. The Court of Appeal ruled that in deciding this question the jury would have to take into account the purpose of the observer.

"This case provides a important clarification on the law in relation to this offence. It also demonstrates the importance of having dedicated, properly remunerated and hardworking defence solicitors who are willing to take on what the public may perceive to be unsympathetic causes." Tom Wainwright

Tom Wainwright was instructed by Stanley Tee Solicitors.


Barrister Profile: Tom Wainwright

From the beginning of his career, Tom has practised solely in the field of criminal defence. Since joining Garden Court in February 2007, Tom has rapidly developed a busy practice representing defendants in the Crown, Magistrates' and Youth Courts and advising in Court of Appeal cases. In particular, he is regularly instructed in cases involving young or vulnerable clients.

As well as extensive experience representing clients charged with violent, dishonesty, sexual and road traffic offences, Tom has also appeared for clients charged with Environmental, Health and Safety, Intellectual Property, Dangerous Dogs and Licensing Offences. He is particularly interested in cases raising difficult legal issues, especially questions of abuse of process. Read More


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