Blog post by Bianca (Summer law student at JFCY)
Currently, section 174 of the Criminal Code prohibits nudity in a public place, or exposing yourself to the public in a private place. But this may not necessarily be the case for long. If Brian Coldin gets his way, we just might start seeing more people walking around in their birthday suits.
On July 5th, Coldin, a self-proclaimed nudist, appeared in court (with six naturists there to support him) to answer criminal charges under the previously mentioned section, after appearing naked at a Tim Hortons and A&W in Bracebridge, Ontario.
Employees at Tim Hortons and A&W testified that seeing his genitals made them feel uncomfortable, while some cried when explaining the situation to the court. However, not only did his lawyers refute the charges by saying that Coldin was wearing a towel at the time, they also argued that the laws are unconstitutional and violate one’s right to freedom of expression. Coldin said that “it’s about rights and the abuse of freedom of a person and their expression…It doesn’t mean the fear that rampant naked people running all over the place is going to take place.”
The case will resume on September 28th, at which date the judge will rule on the constitutionality of the nudity laws and whether Coldin is in fact guilty.
What are your thoughts on public nudity? Should it be a criminal offence, or do you view it as a harmless act that doesn’t require punishment?
Recent news articles on public nudity: