Man claims lewd act was itchy eczema

18:35, Dec 11 2012

A man caught touching himself in Farmers has appealed his conviction offering multiple excuses for the lewd act including that he was set off by a ''dirty text message'' and that he was in fact scratching his eczema.

Krioshin Pillay, 23, was sentenced to 200 hours community work in November 2011 after being convicted of wilfully committing an indecent act in the Manukau store.

The South African immigrant initially appealed against his conviction, arguing the trial judge had misinterpreted the evidence against him and had wrongfully refused him an adjournment so he could provide evidence from a doctor.

He later abandoned those grounds but continued with an appeal against conviction and sentence in the hope of being discharged without conviction.

According to a High Court decision released this week, security guards monitoring CCTV cameras at Farmers spotted Pillay touching his crotch in the store, near displays of men's and women's clothing.
 Police were called and Pillay was arrested at the store. 

According to the High Court decision Pillay told the arresting officer he had ''received a dirty text message from a friend and had become aroused''.

However, at trial he claimed he had instead been scratching himself, as he had eczema which became very itchy. The trial judge rejected Pillay's evidence and found him to be ''untruthful''. 

At appeal, counsel for Pillay asked the court to accept evidence from a registered psychologist, despite him treating Pillay 18 months after the offending took place. 

Dr Sean Sullivan said Pillay had displayed schizophrenic symptoms for some time, but they would have had ''little impact on his behaviour'' on the day in question. 

The court heard Pillay's conviction would negatively impact on his chances of getting work once he completed his automotive course.

''He (Pillay's counsel) argues as a matter of commonsense, many employers will consider that an employee with a conviction like this might behave irresponsibly or unpredictably in the presence of other staff, and in particular female employees,'' the decision reads. 

The court said that Pillay had several other convictions that argument couldn't be stood up. Pillay had been convicted of assault, driving offences, possessing cannabis and methamphetamine, and burglary. 

''The range of the appellant's existing convictions is likely to reduce his employment prospects. This particular conviction may reduce them a little further, but not to a qualifying degree.''

The court found Pillay's conviction might cause some ''embarrassment'' but said that was of no ''relevance'' and rejected his appeal.

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