District Judge David Carney cleared of indecency in Looe hotel
THE case against a district judge accused of outraging public decency in a Looe swimming pool changing room was dismissed on the second day of the trial.
District Judge David Carney, who sits at Basingstoke County Court, was accused of committing an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting manner and outraging public decency by behaving in an indecent manner towards two teenage boys.
On the second day of the trial at Truro Crown Court last Wednesday Richard Smith QC, for the defence, argued there was no case to answer.
Judge Warwick McKinnon, who had been called in from Croydon to hear the case, agreed, and the case was dismissed. After dismissing the jury Judge McKinnon described the teenage boys' evidence as inconsistent and 'wholly unreliable'.
He said Mr Carney was 'discharged without a stain on his character' and if it was within his (McKinnon's) power he would look favourably on Mr Carney submitting a claim towards the cost of hiring a Queen's Counsel to defend him.
The court had been told Mr Carney, 60, of Arrow Lane, Hartley Wintney, Hook, Hampshire, was on holiday when he and his wife booked a week's membership of the leisure suite at the Hannafore Point Hotel in West Looe.
Edward Bailey, for the prosecution, told the court the two teenagers had used the gym before going for a swim one evening last October.
They were the only ones using the pool until around 8.40pm, when they were joined by Mr Carney. Aware that the pool closed at 9pm the two got out and went to the male changing room, where they were joined by Mr Carney a short time later.
After waiting for one of the boys to finish, Mr Carney took off his red swimming trunks and used the second shower in the open wet room.
There was no soap in a dispenser in the shower so he had to walk across the changing rooms naked to get soap from a dispenser at the sink, where it was claimed the offence was committed.
After hearing the prosecution case, defence barrister Richard Smith QC argued that there was no case to answer because the incident described by witnesses did not satisfy the requirements of the alleged offence.
He broke the allegations down into three stages, the first being when Mr Carney walked backwards and forwards to a soap dispenser on the other side of the changing room. Mr Smith said this was the only part of the incident that was capable of being seen by two members of the public – the test for proving an offence of outraging public decency. He argued that the other two parts of the alleged offence could only possibly have been seen by the younger of the two teens.
Judge Warwick McKinnon ruled that due to this and the fact that both young men had described Mr Carney's washing of himself as only weird or odd and not outrageous, there was no case to answer.
He said to the jury: "There is in fact nothing to leave to you to decide.
"You simply could not safely come to any conclusion that the defendant is guilty of the offence charged by whatever route you took."