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Man who defecated in front of teenager on footpath near Ashford International Station was 'not naked'

A sex offender banned from being naked in public who exposed his buttocks and defecated in front of a stranger has been acquitted.

Marcus Dalby, of Ashford, was handed the Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) last year following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.

Marcus Dalby
Marcus Dalby

It was designed to keep the public safe after the 29-year-old was found guilty of performing a sex act in front of a schoolchild on his porch.

Yet just three months later, in November 2021, Dalby defecated on his hands and assaulted another stranger as she walked home on a path near Ashford International Station.

He was charged with common assault and being in breach of a SHPO.

But a judge told jurors today Dalby had “no case to answer” for the charge of breaching the SHPO, as the previous court order was “not fit for purpose”.

After prosecutors and the defence thrashed out legal arguments, it appeared the issue was the court order's wording.

“The argument has been whether or not the prosecution could prove… the defendant was in fact naked.”

Although designed to protect the public, the order only made it illegal for Dalby to “be naked” or “appear to be naked” in public.

Prosecutor Sophie Stannard argued Dalby was indeed naked while exposing the cheeks of his bottom in the direction of his victim, after partially pulling down his underwear.

But defence barrister Gordon Ross highlighted Dalby had only momentarily exposed his buttocks, which did not legally constitute nakedness.

Judge Mark Weekes ruled in Mr Ross’ favour after considering the Oxford Dictionary definition of the word: “Having no clothes on the body.”

He told jurors Dalby had “no case to answer” and the previous Sexual Harm Prevention Order was “not fit for purpose”.

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“The SHPO prohibited this defendant from appearing naked or to be seeming to be naked in a public place.

“The argument has been whether or not the prosecution could prove… the defendant was in fact naked.”

Jurors were ordered to deliver a not guilty verdict before Dalby pleaded guilty to common assault, which he had previously denied.

Dalby was exposing and touching his buttocks, while defecating, with the mess on his hand, as he overtook the girl, who is in her late teens, the jury heard previously.

“Looking into her eyes” Dalby then held onto the girl, trying to grab her by the throat, as she tried to free herself while screaming, the court heard.

A police investigation led to Dalby being identified on CCTV and subsequently arrested, however, he denied any wrongdoing in a police interview.

Dalby, of Pollard Close, told officers he found the girl attractive from behind and wished to speak with her, and hoped to “make her laugh” by exposing his buttocks, the court heard.

He argued he “unintentionally broke wind and tried to catch” his poo and denied assaulting the woman, jurors were told.

Fighting back tears from the stand on the first day of Dalby's trial, the complainant described him overtaking her and then acting “fidgety”.

“I didn’t understand why someone would do something like that – I was disgusted, I didn’t think it was real,” she told jurors.

“When he came towards me, his hands came towards my throat and there was fighting, his hands were everywhere.”

She described his hands as “dirty” and “probably with faeces on them”, adding Dalby approached her “three or four times” while entirely silent.

“I just started screaming probably for help. No one heard me,” she went on.

She described how Dalby then fled, giving her the opportunity to run home. “I was in a panic and I fell to the floor,” she explained.

Dalby will be held on remand pending probation reports and will be sentenced at the same court on June 17.

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