Stephen Gough has once again been found guilty of a Breach of the Peace at Pert Sheriff Court. He was arrested immediately upon leaving HMP Perth as he was naked. This is a process that has repeated itself many times and does not look as though it will end anytime soon.
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis pointed out to Gough that he is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison if he keeps refusing to wear clothes in public. Gough defended himself in court, naked, and the Sheriff will consider the questions of this being Contempt of Court when Gough is before Perth Sheriff Court for sentencing.
Mr Gough has been convicted a number of times for breach of the peace following his refusal to wear clothes in public and has spent much of the past seven years behind bars. While in HMP Perth Mr Gough is kept in a segregation unit as refuses to wear any clothes in prison as well.
In the beginning it was quite amusing, but now Mr Gough’s antics are getting slightly annoying and tiresome. His constant refusal to abide by the laws and remain decent in public is costing taxpayers a significant amount of money. It is estimated that Mr Gough’s antics have cost more than £200,000 over the years – money that could be better spent elsewhere. However, basic public decency standards have to be maintained and I can see no alternative other than to continue to put Mr Gough through due process each time he refuses to wear clothes.
On the previous two occasions that Mr Gough has left prison, Tayside Police have been waiting at the gates and have almost instantly arrested him, after requesting that he get dressed. So, I fail to see Mr Gough spending the next few years anywhere else other than in Perth Police Station, Perth Sheriff Court and HMP Perth.
Hopefully he will get the message, disappear and find a more appropriate way to campaign for the right to walk around naked rather than exposing himself whilst walking through towns, cities and the countryside (assuming he ever gets outside of HMP Perth long enough).
I’m all for Freedom of Expression, civil liberties and Human Rights. However, this is taking it one step too far. I fail to see how Mr Gough’s case can be argued in these terms (and indeed he has failed many times to argue his case in these terms before the courts).