‘SEX FACE’ BANJO COM­MUTER CLEARED OF TRAIN TUG CHARGE Judge tells the jury: ‘Men do fid­dle with them­selves in public’

Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

A MAN ac­cused of in­de­cency on a train has walked freed af­ter a judge pro­claimed: “men do fid­dle with them­selves in public.”

Recorder Jeremy Donne told a jury to ig­nore a pros­e­cu­tor’s sum­ming up com­ments that no-one sits next to a woman on a train ad­just­ing their un­der­wear in public.

He re­ferred them to a BBC TV show called Street Doc­tor which showed men scratch­ing their groin in public and said that the act was com­mon­place.

“The TV show made that very point. They had a se­ries of films of men walk­ing down the street and fid­dling with them­selves,” said the judge, him­self a train com­muter.

Soon af­ter, the jury de­cided to clear Melvin Webb of out­rag­ing public de­cency and he walked free from court.

He had ear­lier told the court that what a pro­fes­sional woman com­muter saw on the 7.08 Bas­ingstoke to Read­ing train was not him mas­tur­bat­ing but strum­ming a pre­tend banjo.

He also claimed he was ad­just­ing his pants be­cause his groin was sore.

Breath­ing

The “vi­o­lated” blonde woman had told the jury she looked over to see a news­pa­per jump­ing up and down on Mr Webb’s lap while he pulled a sex face and breathed heav­ily.

Grey­ing 54-year-old Mr Webb told of­fi­cers he sim­ply had a heavy cold, was pulling his un­der­pants out of his groin be­cause it was sore and was mim­ing pick­ing banjo cords on his knee.

Mr Webb, who had a lower res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion which he blamed for the heavy breath­ing, and had also sub­mit­ted videos of him play­ing his banjo to the pros­e­cu­tion, which they ac­cepted were gen­uine.

When told the vic­tim had de­scribed his arm mov­ing up and down “rapidly”, the court heard how he told the of­fi­cer: “I play the banjo, so some­times I do, with my hands, pick out a pat­tern on my knees.”

The smartly-dressed woman, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, said: “I know what he was do­ing – he was mas­tur­bat­ing.

“I’m sorry, but I know what a man looks like when he mas­tur­bates and he was pulling that face.”

Ju­rors unan­i­mously ac­quit­ted the de­fen­dant of the sin­gle count of out­rag­ing public de­cency af­ter three hours and 40 min­utes of de­lib­er­a­tions. PRIME-TIME health se­ries was first shown in Jan­uary 2007 on BBC1 tele­vi­sion. The for­mat in­volves four GPS who take to the streets to di­ag­nose, ad­vise and treat peo­ple wher­ever they might be – at work or out and about.

In the episode re­ferred to by the judge, the GPS hit the streets of Southamp­ton for an ur­ban open surgery to of­fer their skills and ex­per­tise to any­one they meet.

Dr Ayan Panja was at the city bus sta­tion where one of the bus driv­ers has a po­ten­tially se­ri­ous worry. Martin had a lump on one of his tes­ti­cles.

Dr Ayan found a pri­vate place to look at it and re­as­sured Martin that it is not a lump in­side the tes­ti­cle at all but sim­ply a spot on the skin.

The show went on to ex­plain how men should check their tes­ti­cles reg­u­larly to check they haven’t got can­cer.

FID­DLE: Recorder Jeremy Donne

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