Obscene Exposure & Streaking Laws, Offences & Defences

By Sahar Adatia.

 

The 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines Golf Club held in the middle of June featured just about everything, particularly in its fierce final round which saw a ball get stuck in a tree, and more significantly, defending champion Bryson DeChambeau frantically endeavour to make his way back up the leaderboard.

But, rather unexpectedly, it wasn’t the player’s skill that stole the show.

Instead, on the 13th hole, a zealous man wearing just about no clothing other than a rainbow cape, a boob tube and tiny shorts decided to prance onto the fairway with a golf club in hand, leaving viewers both fascinated and bemused.

The wild streaker’s first move was to drop a couple of balls and take not one but two swings with his club.

Then, he went on to bust a few dance moves, twisting and shaking about on the grass.

Indeed, a most bizarre performance – alas, it did not end there.

The almost-naked man then began to bounce an invisible basketball, showing off his handles to onlookers as if he were on a court, all until a series of security guards made chase to seize the offender.

As one would expect, the streaker attempted to flee the scene, however, this was thwarted by another guard on a golf cart, who hurled off the vehicle and hooked him before pinning him down to the ground as a heap of other guards stacked on top.

The streaker had indeed been sprung and was eventually detained for putting on his show for the fans at Torrey Pines.

 

Footage of Streaker Leaks Online and Goes Viral, Much to Delight of Golf Fans

While the streaker’s stark moment was not shown on the official live broadcast of the US Open, footage of the incident managed to leak online, and, almost predictably, reach viral status on social media, much to the amusement of golf pundits.

“The best streaker golf has really ever seen. Clubs in hand, hit a few shots!” Golf.com writer Sean Zak tweeted, sharing the footage of the untamed man.

“Arguably the best swings under pressure today,” he added.

Another person commented the man’s form was “pretty solid action”, while a sportswriter concluded, “The guy has a pretty nice swing. All things considered, it’s a good stroke”.

Indeed, it didn’t long for golf fans online to work out who the barefoot streaker sporting a rainbow flag was – YouTube and Instagram celebrity, Connor Murphy.

Connor Murphy boasts nearly half a million followers on Instagram and 2.4 million subscribers on YouTube.

His livelihood as a social media celebrity started out with him creating fitness videos, however, more recently, this progressed to whacky stunts.

Meanwhile, Mr Murphy’s Instagram account confirmed he was at the US Open.

It also seemed he was donning the very same outfit seen on the 13th hole worn by the streaker, indeed indicating it was the social media star who was behind the wild streaking stunt.

As for the US Open itself, ultimately, in what a crazy final round at Torrey Pines, Spain’s Jon Rahm went on to win the trophy, with a final round of four-under par, which shot him up the leaderboard and helped him earn his first major title.

Obscene Exposure & Streaking Laws, Offences and Defences in NSW

Put simply, any kind of behaviour in which a person exposes their genitalia in a public place, and which is likely to offend the current standards of decency upheld by a community is termed as obscene exposure by the courts and general community.

Such conduct may include carrying out sexual acts in public and flashing. Although carrying out sexual acts in public can also be a separate crime of sexual acts in NSW.

In line with this, streaking also falls into this category, and even if carried out as a mere joke or a stunt, it is still considered to be obscene exposure.

The courts don’t go easy on streaking, or any kind of offending of obscene exposure.

In NSW, this is reflected in section 5 of the Summary Offences Act 1988, which makes clear that you are prohibited to wilfully and obscenely expose yourself in or within view from a public place or school.

The consequences of an offending include a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a fine of $1,100, as per section 5.

It should be noted that the offence does not include accidental exposure that may have arisen from a wardrobe fail given this form of public display would be deemed unintentional.

Moreover, a person does not have to have witnessed the conduct for it to be regarded as obscene exposure.

Defences to this charge may include duress, necessity, or mental illness defence where the person was incapable of knowing the rightness of wrongness of their conduct.

If you have a question on this topic, please get in touch with our criminal lawyers Sydney based.

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