Monday, 3 December 2007

[Insert lewd joke here]

Did you hear the one about the male stripper and the offensive weapon?

No, really… Stuart Kennedy, who pays his way through university in Aberdeen by working as a police stripogram called Sergeant Eros, has gone on trial accused of carrying offensive weapons in a public place, the weapons being batons and a spray. The only evidence so far appears to have come from a police officer who explained that after encountering Mr Kennedy outside the bar where he was due to perform, she followed him inside so that she and her colleague could “keep an eye on him”.

Mr Kennedy appears to have been charged under section 47 of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995, which makes it an offence to carry an offensive weapon in public “without lawful authority or reasonable excuse”. He has not been charged with an impersonation offence under section 43 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967. That may be because there is an exception to that offence where the accused was “taking part in a stage play, or music hall or circus performance”, although which of these three headings removing one's clothing in the Paramount Bar falls under is not obvious.

A stripper in costume would seem to have a good claim to a “reasonable excuse”. That concept must be interpreted with the purpose of the legislation in mind: that is, to protect the public from persons who may use such weapons to cause or threaten injury (Lister v Lees 1994 SCCR 548), and there are few reports (to this writer’s knowledge) of male strippers going berserk. In England, the Court of Appeal has accepted that wearing a police truncheon as part of fancy dress can be a reasonable excuse under the equivalent legislation applying there (Houghton v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester (1987) 84 Cr App R 319).

But it would be wrong to prejudge whatever evidence might be led when proceedings resume tomorrow. No doubt all will be revealed in due course. It is unclear whether the same applies to Mr Kennedy’s stage act.


FS said...

Re: impersonation...Does it matter that his "uniform" says "STRIPPER" on the back? (

James said...

I'd assumed that he was wearing something over the "STRIPPER" sign when the police officer saw him and mistook him for a fellow officer. But if not, you'd think that really should have given the game away...

FS said...

Perhaps a sad reflection of the extent of undercover policing these days... (I COULD make a terrible joke about how he was an undercovered policeman, but I won't).