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Nudists Strip After Second Court Triumph

Vincent BethellNudist campaigners including Coventry activist Vincent Bethell have stripped off outside a court after convictions for stripping outside New Scotland Yard were quashed.

Two members of the Coventry-based Freedom To Be Yourself Campaign were fined after they were arrested for being naked in public at a national protest in July.

Russell Higgs, aged 40, and Ash Eldritch, aged 22, followed in the footsteps of Vincent Bethell by clearing their names. Bethell was found not guilty of a similar charge last month.

All three, who are members of the Freedom To Be Yourself campaign, then stripped naked outside Southwark Crown Court to celebrate the news.

Mr Higgs, a mature student from Hackney, east London, and Mr Eldritch, a web designer from Camden, north London, were convicted at Bow Street Magistrates Court last October of causing alarm, distress or harassment to members of the public.

But Mr Higgs and Mr Eldritch have won their appeal against conviction and had their fines revoked.

Mike Schwarz, from solicitors Bindman and Partners, who represented the pair, said:

"Their fines of £100 were revoked. The prosecution offered no evidence because they had not got their case ready for whatever reason."

Mr Bethell, aged 28,of Stoney Stanton Road, said:

"This case demonstrates how much closer we have come to the end of oppression of the human body.

“It is now almost certain that we will now never be arrested because the convictions were quashed today. It has been such a struggle to get here."

Mr Higgs, who refused to wear any clothes during a month on remand at Brixton prison, added:

"The police feel they need to do something with us but don't know what to do. Ordinary decent people and most of those we encounter on the street are friendly and supportive."

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CWN / Community / Organisations / Freedom To Be Yourself Campaign / 2 Feb 01
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