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2007-11-17 00:29

via the BBC

Internet message boards have been buzzing with comment about the case of Robert Stewart, 51, from Ayr.

He was reported by cleaners at a hostel who unlocked his door and found him engaged in a sex act with his bike.

Stewart was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register, which some posters said was an over-reaction by the sheriff.

Stewart admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex. As well as being put on register for three years, he was put on probation for the same length of time.

More than a million people have read the story on the BBC news website and it has been hotly debated on forums elsewhere.

. . . .

This is not the first legal case involving someone simulating sex with an inanimate object.
  • In 1997 Robert Watt, 38, was fined £100 for trying to have sex with a shoe in an Edinburgh street
  • In 2002 the same man was arrested for simulating sex with a traffic cone in front of a crowd of people
  • Earlier this month, sentence was deferred on teenager Steven Marshall, from Galashiels, who admitted simulating sex on a pavement while drunk.

Human rights lawyer John Scott told the BBC Scotland news website that the case raised important privacy issues.

He said: “It certainly prompts questions about what people can and can’t do behind closed doors with inanimate objects.

“However, the difficulty is that the man involved in this case pleaded guilty to a breach of the peace so these issues of privacy weren’t considered by the court.”

He added: “The sheriff had to act on the guilty plea and make a decision about whether or not there was a sexual nature to the offence. Clearly there was and that’s why the man has ended up on the register.”

However, Mr Scott said it should not be seen as a test case or one that would set a precedent in the future.

“This case should not prevent people who want to engage in this sort of activity doing so.

“What I would say to a client of mine that wanted to do this kind of thing is as long as it’s behind a bolted door, with an inanimate object, then each to their own.”


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