Nudist’s case thrown out by European Court of Human Rights

A man known to many as “the naked rambler” has lost his case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Over the past decade, Stephen Gough, a former serviceman, has been repeatedly arrested and prosecuted for being nude in public.

Between May 2006 and October 2012, the 55-year-old, from Hampshire, spent all but seven days in detention.

Mr Gough had taken his case to Strasbourg, arguing that the repeated convictions for breach of the peace violated his human rights.

But the ECHR quickly dismissed his claims that the authorities’ actions contravened Article 8 (the right to respect for private and family life) and Article 10 (freedom of expression).

The court said: “The applicant’s imprisonment is the consequence of his repeated violation of the criminal law in full knowledge of the consequences, through conduct which he knew full well not only goes against the standards of accepted public behaviour in any modern democratic society but also is liable to be alarming and morally and otherwise offensive to other, unwarned members of the public going about their ordinary business.

“Article 10 does not go so far as to enable individuals, even those sincerely convinced of the virtue of their own beliefs, to repeatedly impose their anti-social conduct on other, unwilling members of society.”

Mr Gough, who was handed a two-and-a-half year prison sentence only this month, said he was disappointed by the verdict.

“I expected them to take the wider view. They have not. Then again, what great endeavour ever succeeded without having to surmount many obstacles that stood in its way?

“Why should it be any different for me? I have no choice but to continue.”

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