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