Bike-sex, breaking the law?
November 15, 2007 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Why does the law have a problem with sex with a bicycle?

I'm quite perplexed by this story.

Surely there's an absence of all the facts. On what basis did this man end up on the sex offender's register? There are all kinds of marital aids available today!

He was in a locked room. His actions were a private matter between the bicycle and himself, weren't they?
posted by popcassady to Law & Government (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Probably something to do with the fact that he was in a hostel? According to this page it's a place used to house homeless people so they probably have some sort of rules to do with what you're allowed to get up to in there. I agree it's a pretty strange thing to arrest someone for, but there was a law he was breaking to be fair: "sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex"; I guess since he was in a hostel it counts as a "public place" or something?
So it's not like he was in is own home and they just nicked him for being weird.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:48 PM on November 15, 2007


He's a freak of nature named Sir Cycle Sexy!

I'm guessing it has something to do with it being a public place. Maybe he was being loud enough to disturb the other people there?
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:51 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, I'd assume the "assault" in question occurred at night, because the perp was 1) drinking and 2) it's unlikely the cleaners were trying to enter his room for a daily cleaning task.

So, the scenario probably went like this: Loud, drunken sexual noises. The cleaners, awoken, investigate and try to enter. The noise of the drunken sexual congress, and not the act itself, probably lead to the charge.

Kinda like the Larry Craig incident in America. It's not the sexual act occurring in the bathroom stalls that is the problem. It's the fact that the act, and the seductive advances to strangers that lead up to it, cause a disturbance in a public place -- leading to a mild misdemeanor charge.
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:53 PM on November 15, 2007


I believe the missing element is provided in this article:
...the "shocked" cleaners said they had knocked repeatedly before opening the door.
Seems like he may have deliberately failed to respond to the knocks in order to expose himself to someone.
posted by mullacc at 4:09 PM on November 15, 2007


Unlike in England, under Scottish Common Law it is a sexual offence to indulge in "lewd, indecent or libidinous behaviour or practices". So while we may turn a blind eye to sheep molestation in the North East of the country, fucking a bike is quite frowned upon in Lanarkshire. Even in the privacy of one's hotel room.

Furthermore, when found guilty of a sexual crime, one is summarily placed on The Register.

Nae luck ya perv. As they say in Glasgow.
posted by brautigan at 4:10 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


I also thought that being placed on the sex offenders register for this was ridiculous. The guys living in a hostel and getting his jollies from inanimate objects so life patently isn't going that great for him. What are we doing? Protecting the innocent bikes of Scotland from this terrible predator?

Breach of the peace for loudness? Maybe. Put on a register that will prevent him ever getting out of his dire situation? Not so clever.
posted by merocet at 4:12 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some relevant comments in the recent discussion on the blue.
posted by rob511 at 4:21 PM on November 15, 2007


Seems like he may have deliberately failed to respond to the knocks in order to expose himself to someone.

And then he continued after he knew someone was watching.
posted by grouse at 4:26 PM on November 15, 2007


I don't know what the precise criteria are for establishing a reasonable expectation of privacy, but I've always had the gut feeling that anywhere with a cleaning staff wasn't, you know, *private* private. I imagine that his attorney was not entirely incompetent, and that there is just some glitch in the written law that needs to get ironed out before I ever visit scotland.

Highly relevant to this discussion, and notedly absent are:
pics.

What kind of a bike was this?
Did it have a hot italian groupo?
Sexy lugged steel tubes?
Exotic Delta brakes?
posted by Acari at 5:01 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Apparently the guy was also involved in group sex with a tandem.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:29 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


"admitted a sexually aggravated breach of the peace by conducting himself in a disorderly manner and simulating sex".

Is admitted UK speak for plea bargain?
posted by Mitheral at 8:25 PM on November 15, 2007


Apparently the guy was also involved in group sex with a tandem.

That's taking the training wheels off.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:35 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is silly, and I bet the result of the case had a lot to do with the fact that he couldn't afford to pay for a decent lawyer.

If the guy had been in the room having sex with a human partner, would they have been arrested for it and placed on the sex offender registry?
posted by orange swan at 6:11 AM on November 16, 2007


I bet the result of the case had a lot to do with the fact that he couldn't afford to pay for a decent lawyer.

He shouldn't have plead guilty. This from a human rights lawyer quoted in the BBC article on the story:

"However, the difficulty is that the man involved in this case pleaded guilty to a breach of the peace so these issues of privacy weren't considered by the court."

He added: "The sheriff had to act on the guilty plea and make a decision about whether or not there was a sexual nature to the offence. Clearly there was and that's why the man has ended up on the register."


So there you have it. Had he plead not guilty he could probably have argued that what he got up to in the privacy of his own room was his own damn business and nobody elses.

..fucking a bike is quite frowned upon in Lanarkshire...

The incident took place in Ayr. Lanarkshire's much more liberal when it comes to these things.
posted by Nugget at 7:24 AM on November 16, 2007


Is admitted UK speak for plea bargain?"

No. No such thing as plea bargains here.
posted by genghis at 7:42 AM on November 16, 2007


In reality, plea bargaining happens despite there being "no such thing."

Pleading guilty legitimately gets you a discount off whatever the sentence would have been otherwise. In England and Wales, it's one-third off if you plead guilty at the earliest opportunity.
posted by grouse at 7:52 AM on November 16, 2007


Of course plea bargaining exists in the UK. They haven't embraced it as much as Americans, but the simple fact is that the state has to give defendants some carrot for pleading guilty, or guilty defendants have no reason not to try their luck with a trial, and trials are expensive.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:29 PM on November 17, 2007


And trials happen whether you plead guilty or not.
posted by genghis at 6:03 PM on November 20, 2007


trials happen whether you plead guilty or not

Yes, but if the accused pleads guilty, that's one less trial to deal with.
posted by grouse at 11:52 PM on November 20, 2007


What the hell are you talking about?

The trial's still on. Everybody still has to attend.
posted by genghis at 7:33 PM on November 21, 2007


From Archbold: Criminal Pleading, Evidence, and Practice:
When does the Trial Begin?

In Ex p. Guardian Newspapers [1999] 1 Cr.App.R. 284 , CA , it was said to be well settled that a trial does not start on arraignment, unless there is a statutory provision creating this effect; it starts when a jury is sworn and the defendant is put into the charge of the jury ( R. v. Tonner , 80 Cr.App.R. 170 , CA considering a statutory provision that did not apply to a trial which began before the commencement date), and that the entering of a plea of not guilty does not mark the commencement of a trial, but merely establishes the need for a trial (Quazi v. DPP , 152 J.P. 414 , DC ); but cf. R. v. Hammersmith Juvenile Court, ex p. O. , 86 Cr.App.R. 343 , DC , ante , 1-75w . Tonner was referred to, with apparent approval, in R. v. Jones (Anthony) [2003] 1 A.C. 1 (at [5]), HL .
There is no trial until after a not guilty plea. Arraignment and sentencing hearings are not a trial, and no, not everyone has to show up for them. They are require less in the way of preparation, witnesses, and legal expertise. If everyone who was accused of a crime had to go to trial, it would grind the justice system to a halt.
posted by grouse at 1:16 AM on November 22, 2007


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