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Monday 18 February 2013 Updated: 21/02 08:12
PROSECUTORS have decided to drop a charge against so-called ‘Naked Rambler’ Stephen Gough after he was arrested while walking in the nude near Bidford.
The former Royal Marine had been making his way south since being freed from prison in Scotland in October last year.
Gough, who has repeatedly been jailed as a result of his insistence on roaming the country naked, was arrested in December in the nude in Bickmarsh, near Bidford.
And after resolutely refusing to put clothes on, he appeared before magistrates at the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington the following day wearing just his socks.
Gough, 53, of Eastleigh, Hampshire, pleaded not guilty to using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour.’
But the day before he was due to return to the court to stand trial, his solicitors were told he need not attend because the charge against him was being dropped.
Prosecutor Baljinder Kaur explained to the magistrates on Friday that ‘a decision has been taken to discontinue the case because of insufficient evidence.’
At the previous hearing as the magistrates waited for Gough to be brought from the cells, his solicitor Mark Parry indicated that he denied the charge on the grounds that his behaviour had not been insulting.
The ex-Marine, tall and skinny and with a bushy unkempt beard, was led into the dock with his wrists handcuffed in front of him – but stood with his hands by his side as soon as they were removed.
After Gough had entered his not guilty plea, Mr Parry said that previously Gough had run arguments under human rights legislation that he should be allowed to walk around naked.
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