What are the Penalties for Streaking or Obscene Exposure in NSW?

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

 

On 1 June 2019, the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham was brought to a sudden halt when a streaker ran across the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid in a thong swimsuit and sneakers.

The US model, Kinsey Wolanski, somehow made it past security, jumped the fence and then broke onto the pitch in the first half of Tottenham’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool.

As the 22-year-old ran onto the pitch mid-game, stunning both football players and spectators, it was soon understood that she had committed the act in order to promote her boyfriend’s adult prank site, Vitaly Uncensored, the name of which was printed on her skimpy black swimsuit.

It wasn’t long before Ms Wolanski was escorted off the pitch and led away by stewards, before being banished from the ground, both plays and spectators looking understandably bemused as play had to be stopped by the referee.

Along with spending five hours locked in a Spanish jail cell, she was fined €15,000 ($24,000 AUD) for the stunt and warned by UEFA that she faces a further €8,000 fine if she commits a similar violation in any other football event in the future.

The blonde bombshell clearly had no regrets over the streak, telling her Twitter followers, “Life is for living, do crazy things that you will remember forever.”

 

So, Just How Much was the Champion League Streaker’s Stunt Worth?

Indeed, the Russian swimwear model succeeded in her aim of advertising her YouTuber boyfriend Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, who, funnily enough, invaded the World Cup final back in 2014.

It turns out the stunt paid out absolutely nothing for essentially placing an advertisement in a primetime slot.

According to sports betting and business expert Darren Rovell, it would have cost Vitaly Uncensored US$3.97 million if they had paid for advertising via official channels.

The figure corresponds to the value in equivalent advertising time as of 5:30pm, as calculated by APEX Analytix.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Zdoroverskiy was overjoyed by his girlfriend’s antics – so much so that following the incident, he even vowed to marry her.

Taking to Twitter, the YouTube prankster flaunted an image of his streaker girlfriend, captioning it with, “I can’t wait to marry you.”

 

Swimwear Model’s Social Media Followers Jump to 3.1 Million Following the Streaking Incident

Meanwhile, it appears the swimwear model’s bank account also benefitted from the streak too.

In the aftermath of the incident, the 22-year-old earned more than 2 million followers on her social media account, jumping from 316,500 to a current 3.1 million followers.

Indeed, the higher the profile and number of followers, the more the chances of ad deals.

So, safe to say, while the prank may have led to Ms Wolanski being banned from sporting events, much like her boyfriend, with millions of dollars’ worth of free advertising, along with a significant boost in social media followers and a potential engagement, the streak was probably worth it all.

 

Exposing the Obscene: The Issue with Streaking

Generally speaking, obscene exposure is taken to mean any behaviour that is likely to offend the standards of decency held by current community standards.

As such, acts such as sexual conduct carried out in public, streaking at sporting events, or flashing, are considered obscene exposure by the courts and general community.

So, while you may think of streaking as a classic sporting tradition, or a simple joke, even if just a mere prank, streaking is considered an act of obscene exposure and the courts don’t go easy on such stunts.

In fact, the consequences of such an act can be as severe as jail time, heavy fines, and a criminal record that could have devastating impacts on your job or travel options.

All jurisdictions have laws criminalising obscene exposure.

Where these laws become particularly complex however is in the fact that what some may consider to be obscene or offensive can be influenced by the contemporary standards of decency in society.

The Offence of Obscene Exposure in NSW

In NSW, the offence of obscene exposure is contained in section 5 Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW). It carries a penalty of up to six months in jail or a maximum fine of $1,100.

It is prohibited in NSW to wilfully obscenely expose yourself in or within the view from a public place or school.

‘obscene exposure’ here is conduct that offends the susceptibilities of current community standards in a way that violates the contemporary standards of decency.

In other words, conduct will constitute ‘obscene exposure’ if our current community standards would judge the conduct as a violation of contemporary standards of decency.

An example of such conduct is if a person walks nude in a public park.

An example of where conduct would not constitute obscene exposure is if someone walks nude on a nude beach.

A ‘public place’ is a place or part of premises open to public. It includes a place whether it is or isn’t covered by water, or a part of premises used by the public whether or not on the payment of money or otherwise. This applies whether or not the place or part is ordinarily opened or used and whether or not the public to whom it’s open consists only of a limited class of persons.

A ‘school’ is a government school or registered non-government one, that is within the meaning of the Education Act 1900. It also includes:

  • A school that provides education at a pre-school or infants’ school level or at a primary or secondary school level; and
  • Any place that’s used for an establishment commonly known as a child-minding centre or for similar purposes; and
  • Any land and any building that’s occupied by (or in connection with) the conduct of such a school or place.

Further to this, it is important to note that this offence can be occasioned even if you are not in a public place or school – you merely have to be within view of either.

The charge is usually laid when a person exposes their genitalia in a public place, such as parks, on the road, or public buildings. Additionally, someone does not necessarily have to have witnessed the exposure.

As one would expect, this offence does not include accidental exposure that may have resulted from a wardrobe malfunction because this form of public display was unintentional.

A person who is guilty of obscene exposure in NSW can end up receiving a criminal record by a Magistrate in court unless the Court is convinced to order a non-conviction as a sentence.

A non-conviction sentence includes either a section 10 dismissal order or a Conditional Release Order without conviction (CRO). The CRO allows the Magistrate to impose conditions without imposing a criminal record.

Preparing compelling good character letters with a strong apology letter for the Court on a plea of guilty to this charge can increase the chances of avoiding a criminal record by convincing the Court to order a non-conviction sentence.

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