By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
Ahh, mooning. So immature and childish. And yet sometimes some people may take the view that it’s so worth it for those who deserve it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, let’s turn to the Urban Dictionary, which defines mooning as “the recreational act of baring one’s ass in public with the intention of it being seen by people who don’t want, or expect, to see it”.
Indeed, if you’re trying to make a point about something to someone, this is certainly one defiant way to go about it.
But perhaps it’s not the best idea when it comes to the police.
Case in Point: Man from Orange Moons Police and Lands Himself in Court
If you’re thinking about mooning a police officer any time soon, you may want to first refer to the case of Jayden Wilson, a man from Orange in Central West region of NSW, who found himself in court and slammed with a bunch of fines after he bared his behind to authorities.
Last year, on July 8, Mr Wilson, left a licensed premise in Orange highly intoxicated and strolled across Summer Street.
At 1:10am, police, who were patrolling the street noticed Wilson standing in the middle of the road outside the hotel.
According to police facts, the 22-year-old appeared to be “highly intoxicated”, was unsteady on his feet and was becoming increasingly agitated.
With that, the police offered the man from Friendship Place a lift home, but he said he would walk and continued to amble towards the Salvation Army store on the corner of Peisley Street.
Then, while the police car was stopped at a red traffic light at the intersection, he crossed back in front of it and pulled down his pants and underwear.
Mr. Wilson Fined 0 for Mooning Police
Mr Wilson was fined in Orange Local Court, although he was sentenced in absence after sending the court a written plea of guilty.
He was fined $660 for behaving in an offensive manner by mooning the police.
On top of that, Magistrate David Day also fined the man $110 for obstructing a police vehicle and $110 for refusing to comply with police direction.
“That brown-eye, that’s the big one,” Magistrate Day said in regard to how he should sentence Wilson.
“I think Mr Wilson was too far into his cups.”
Mr Day noted police reported Wilson to be intoxicated and unsteady on his feet.
“He’s offered a lift home by police and declined saying, ‘I can walk home’,” Magistrate Day said.
“He walked in front of a pedestrian crossing and exposed his posterior.
The History of Mooning: Where it all Began
Mooning, or baring one’s butt at another as an insult, is a phenomenon that stretches all the way back to the Romans.
The first known occurrence of mooning dates back to 66 CE, when a Roman soldier mooned whilst passing Jewish pilgrims during Passover, causing a huge riot and subsequently a military response that killed thousands.
However, upon closer examination of the account, some have argued that the soldier was not mooning the crowd, but rather farting in their general direction. One of the soldiers simply raised his robe stooped in an indecent attitude so as to turn his backside to the Jews, and made a noise in keeping with his posture.
There is also ample evidence that people mooned each other during the Middle Ages.
One of the earliest known instances of mooning in the Middle Ages occurred during the Fourth Crusade around 1203, when Western Europeans attempted to take Constantinople. As the crusaders’ ships towed away following the failed attack, the Byzantines hooted and revealed their bare buttocks in scorn to the fleeting enemies.
Many, many years later, bearing one’s buttocks in aggravation has become a favourite particularly in English-speaking countries since the colonial era.
Today, mooning still seems to come naturally to humans, much like the function of one’s backside is known for.
In fact, it is a leading cause of fines against footballers and a ritual of flippant weirdness for thrill-seekers alike.
So, Where Did Mooning Get its Name From?
By the 19th Century, mooning had become a worldwide phenomenon. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that it finally got its name.
The Oxford English Dictionary dates moon and mooning to student slang of the 1960s, when the behaviour became increasingly popular at American universities.
The term itself derives from the use of moon or moons as slang for the bare buttocks
One of the first descriptions of mooning comes from a 1963 issue of the American magazine Look, which described “a game called mooning”.
Whether by standing in front of and mooning a police officer who is trying to discharge a duty or by behaving in any other way that effectively prevents or hinders police from doing their duty, it is considered a crime which carries heavy penalties in NSW.
A person can face a criminal charge if he/she does something that amounts to resisting or hindering police while they are working.
The law on hindering or resisting police in NSW is outlined in section 546C Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
A person will face a maximum penalty of 1-year imprisonment and/or $1,100 fine for resisting or hindering (or inciting any person to assault, resist or hinder) a police officer in the execution of his/her duty.
A person facing this charge will be found not guilty by the court unless the prosecution proves each of the following elements of this crime beyond reasonable doubt in court:
- The accused person resisted or hindered a police officer, or incited someone else to assault, or resist or hinder a police officer; and
- This occurred while the police officer was executing a lawful police officer duty.
Some defences that apply to this charge of hindering or resisting police include, self-defence, or where the police officer was acting outside his/her power as a police officer at the time, or where the accused person did the hindering or resisting out of a necessity or duress.
While the above charge prohibits hindering or resisting police, there is another charge under section 58 Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which prohibits anyone from assaulting, resisting or wilfully obstructing a police officer, peach officer, custom-house officer, prison officer, sheriff’s officer, or anyone acting in aid of such an officer in NSW. This crime carries a maximum of 5-years prison.
If you have a question, contact our Sydney criminal law firm on (02) 8606 2218 to arrange a free first appointment with a criminal lawyer today.