A man with a website devoted to Spandex-clad women has been given a 28-week suspended jail term after secretly filming female swimmers.This is a crime...?
Michael Matthews, 40, filmed participants at a gala in Sheffield's Pond Forge International Sports Centre.Now, why would a fellow commuter call the police to report that someone is viewing boobie shots on his laptop, and have any real expectation of them not laughing and putting the phone down.
A fellow commuter noticed Matthews watching the footage on his laptop on a train to London and told police.
Well, as you might have guessed, it's 'for the children'!
Prosecuting at Southwark Crown Court, Peter Zinner explained how Matthews was caught looking at the images.So, several uniformed officers nabbed him as he got off the train.
He said: "Unfortunately for him another member of the public was able to use the reflection of an adjacent window to see Matthews use what he believed was a laptop to view them.
"There appeared to be indecent images of children on moving footage which showed the maker... had zoomed in on genitals, breasts and buttock areas of young people at a swimming pool."
The swimmers involved were later identified as aged over 18.Ah, so, not children after all?
They were spoken to and although until then "completely unaware" of what happened, said they felt "distressed and violated", the court heard.And who made them feel that way? The defendant, or the people that told them what the defendant was up to?
And since when did this kind of 'violation' get taken seriously? I'm pretty sure when the old Victorian explorers came upon remote tribes who viewed photography as 'taking their souls', it was regarded as a sign of how primitive they were; they never thought in their wildest dreams that one day their descendents would say 'Hey, maybe those tribes were on to something after all!'
There's no doubt whatsoever that Matthews is a skeezy perv, to use a technical term:
A search of Matthews' home uncovered a makeshift studio with lighting and other equipment and more than 600 pornographic films.But does that really justify the waste of time and resources:
Mr Zinner said: "It all appeared to be consistent with the copying and making of porn material, some commercial, some home-made."
Matthews, who is unemployed, was given a 24-month supervision order, ordered to attend a sex offenders' rehabilitation course, banned from public swimming pools until 2012 and ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs.Contrast this case with the one in the week of the two burglars pictured by a neighbour breaking into someone's home.
They stole £1,400 of belongings, had records as long as your arm, yet received only a suspended sentence (12 and 18 months) and supervision order, thanks to the utterly barmy decision that drug addicts should be spared jail.
Who is causing real harm here?
Now, I've no special love for the dirty mac brigade, and if one of the fathers of these 18 year olds caught him in the act of taking pics and decided to, shall we say, forcefully invite him to depart, fair dos.
But wasting criminal prosecution on one of the lookie loos while actual thieves, muggers, rapists and HoC expense fiddlers go free? Where are our priorities?