It is reported that at about 10:45am on Saturday, police received multiple complaints about a man walking naked on Jimmys Beach at Hawks Nest, north of Port Stephens in the Hunter Region of NSW.

A 51-year-old man from Killara has been charged with committing a sexual act and indecent exposure as a result.

Police allege that the Killara man, while naked, was walking up to other patrons on the beach before committing sexual acts right in-front of them.

When he was approached by police, a blanket was placed over him before he was arrested. He was then taken to the Raymond Terrace police station.

Police also managed to find the man’s belongings which were located on the beach. Some of the items found allegedly included Viagra, MDMA and LSD prohibited drugs.

He was taken to the Newcastle Local Court for bail application.

A sexual act charge is the new legal phrase used for indecent assault. It is conduct considered by a reasonable person to be sexual in nature. When a Magistrate or Judge decides whether the alleged conduct is sexual, he/she can consider factors such as:

  • Circumstances of the act
  • Nature of the conduct that would cause it to be sexual
  • If there was any sexual gratification involved
  • The part of body used.

Defences to a sexual act offence may include, involuntary acts due to a medical condition; conduct was done for purposes of genuine medical or hygienic reason(s); the act was something commonly accepted by society in everyday life; necessity or duress; or if there was a genuine (and reasonable) belief by the accused person that the other person was consenting to the alleged act.

What are the penalties for committing a sexual act offence in NSW? A convicted offender for sexual act offence(s) will be precluded from an Intensive Correction Order penalty/sentence if the victim was less than the age of 16 at the time.

Section 61KE of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prescribes a maximum penalty of up to $5,500 fine or 18-months in jail, or both. This penalty rises to a up to two years in jail if the victim was aged between 10 and 15 pursuant to section 66DD Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The penalty further rises to up to 7-years in jail if the victim was aged 10 or less.

How does the police prove a sexual act charge in court? This can be proven if the police prove each essential element of the charge with sufficient evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

The essential elements of the charge of sexual touching include, the intention to commit the act towards the alleged victim; absence of consent from the alleged victim; the alleged offender’s awareness as to the absence of such consent; and that a reasonable person would assess the alleged sexual act as sexual.