Sheriff jails defiant naked rambler and brands him ‘arrogant’
NAKED Rambler Stephen Gough has been jailed for five months for a breach of the peace after he told a court he would not co-operate with social workers tasked with assessing his mental health.
Gough, 53, who has spent much of the past six years in prison for similar offences, was convicted of the charge last month after walking unclothed near a children’s play park in Dunfermline, Fife, on 20 July.
The incident took place three days after Gough, a well-known campaigner for his right to appear nude in public, was released from prison in Perth.
The former Marine, from Eastleigh, Hampshire, was sentenced yesterday at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, where he appeared naked in the dock and represented himself.
Sheriff James Williamson had expressed his concern at a previous hearing about the accused’s demeanour and ordered social workers to produce a report
assessing Gough’s emotional and mental health.
But the sheriff told the rambler yesterday he had “no alternative” but to impose another custodial sentence after Gough refused to meet the officials and indicated he has no intention of doing so in the future.
Gough denied conducting himself in a disorderly manner and committing a breach of the peace by walking naked in Dunfermline’s Cairncubie Road, in the Townhill area, arguing there was nothing about him that was indecent, alarming or offensive.
But he was convicted of the charge after a two-hour trial, in which he again appeared naked in the dock.
He appeared tearful at points during that earlier hearing, behaviour which in part led the sheriff to call for the mental health assessment.
Sheriff Williamson warned the rambler – who said he has no intention of changing his ways and wearing clothes in public – that he could “end up serving prison sentence after prison sentence”.
But Gough yesterday confirmed he had not yet co-operated with the social work department and was not prepared to meet them.
Passing sentence, Sheriff Williamson told him: “You were indulged by the authorities and the police. I understand you to have left prison some time before your arrest.
“Police officers told you that if you carried on your journey, you would pass a playground occupied by children.
“You were given three options: one to change direction, two to cover your private parts, or three to enter the police van, who would then take you round the play park, release you and allow you on your way. Despite that, you refused. That shows a degree of arrogance and disregard for other members of the public, in particular children, who have a right not to be confronted by naked men.”
The sheriff said Gough’s “arrogance” continues to this day. “In these circumstances I have no alternative but to impose a custodial sentence,” he added.
“I take into account that I consider there to be no real sinister nature to your behaviour.”
Gough was allowed to leave Perth prison on 17 July and he was not rearrested, in an apparent change of approach by Tayside Police.
However, Fife Police arrested him in Dunfermline three days later.
Prior to the sentence being passed yesterday, prosecutor Brian Robertson told the court the authorities were prepared to “facilitate” Gough’s return home, if his behaviour does not cause alarm to the public.
Mr Robertson also summed up the background to Gough’s case, telling the court the rambler has “repeatedly adopted an unco-operative approach” with the authorities.
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