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High Court victory for nude cyclist

Published: 8:18PM Tuesday March 02, 2010 Source: NZPA

A Wellington man fined for cycling nude on a country road has had his conviction and sentence quashed, but the High Court is warning people not to take it as an indication they can do the same.

Nick Lowe was cycling nude on Akatarawa Rd near Upper Hutt last March when a woman stopped and called police to report what she considered to be offensive behaviour.

When police arrived, the self-confessed naturalist said he was happy to cover up and did so by putting on a G-string.

He later found himself in court and was fined $200 - a fine which he refused to pay, instead taking the issue to the High Court in Wellington.

In a decision released on Tueesday, Justice Denis Clifford noted the court initially translated the level of offence caused to the woman who complained as being "quite concerning", rather than being "disgusting".

Justice Clifford says there were various levels of offensiveness when it came to nudity and suggested cycling on a country road could be considered less offensive than, for example, walking naked along a public footpath.

In Lowe's case, the complainant admitted she had not been able to see his genitals.

While Justice Clifford allowed Lowe's appeal, he said "this judgement does not mean that nude cycling cannot constitute offensive behaviour".

In other situations, the circumstances surrounding nudity would have to be weighed up by the courts.

Justice Clifford also noted that Lowe's ride had coincidently been on World Nude Bike Day, and could possibly be seen as an expression of opinion of support in that context.

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