A man who stripped naked in a car park beside an Auckland primary school has had his conviction for indecent exposure overturned.
Instead, the High Court has ruled that Brian Ker behaved in an offensive manner, and the $500 fine he received was upheld.
The court heard that Ker was in a car park behind East Tamaki Primary School last November with his Isuzu four-wheel-drive vehicle and a large covered trailer.
The 4WD and the trailer could be seen from two classrooms.
Ker, who was living in the vehicles, decided to have a sponge bath, the court judgment said.
"To this end, he took a tub from the Isuzu, undressed and washed himself in a space between the Isuzu and the trailer," it said.
As a result of "information received", a police officer arrived at the car park about noon.
He saw Ker naked and walking around the side of the Isuzu.
When Ker saw the officer he went into the trailer and put on a pair of shorts.
The constable called for backup, and Ker was arrested and charged with indecent exposure.
At his trial in the Manukau District Court, a statement from Ker was read in which he said he had waited until there were no children around, and he had kept out of sight.
"So I looked around and decided it was OK at that time, so I had a wash and saw a police car there."
The district court judge found that Ker had been intentionally naked in a public place, and noted that it was not necessary for the act to be seen by any other person for it to be obscene.
Ker appealed on several grounds, primarily to do with what constituted obscene behaviour.
In his ruling, Justice Geoffrey Venning said that "as in most cases, context is everything".
"Mr Ker's actions were potentially an interference with the rights of others," he said.
"Primary school children should not be potentially subjected to men exposing their genitals in a way visible to them while at school.
"Against that, the exposure of Mr Ker's genitals was in the course of his washing himself. While thoughtless and inappropriate, the decision to wash himself which led to the exposure was not as blatant as other examples of exposure.
"Assessing Mr Ker's behaviour as best as I can … I consider that, while it may not reach the standard of revulsion or loathing required for obscenity, it clearly satisfies the test for offensive behaviour as arousing feelings of disgust and outrage in the minds of reasonable people.
"I conclude that Mr Ker did not obscenely expose his genitals but, in a public place, he behaved in an offensive manner."
The conviction was quashed and replaced with a conviction for behaving in an offensive manner.
The $500 fine was reimposed.