1 min

Naked dance victory

Ironically, the arrest of seven nudists at Pride came just four days after the TNT MEN and The Barn – the Church St bar which hosts the group’s dances – won a court case on nudity-related charges dating back to 2000.

The Barn faced Liquor Licence Act charges of permitting disorderly conduct because police officers found patrons drinking, talking and playing pool while naked at a private party.

Provincial Court Justice Robert Bigelow dismissed the charges. He said disorderly conduct creates a public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, particularly where alcohol is being consumed.

“Nothing in fact suggests this happened,” Bigelow said.

Peter Simm, TNT MEN member and lawyer, researched the case for The Barn’s lawyer, Andrew Czernik.

“We were very pleasantly surprised at how fast the decision [came],” says Simm. “It shows how clear it was in the judge’s mind that we were right.”

There are five licensed nudists premises in Ontario that have not faced the same police treatment faced by TNT MEN and The Barn.

After Bigelow’s decision, TNT MEN’s Pride Week dance was declared officially nude; for more than two years underwear was mandatory. About 370 men attended and there were no reports of police visits. Simm says there’s been a chill on naked events in the city since The Barn charges and that should end now.

Simm, who will also be researching for the men arrested at Pride, says the police have repeatedly ignored case law when deciding to go after nudists. He met with Maher before the dance charges in 2000 and met with him again before Pride this year.

“Despite an open invitation by me for the police lawyer to show me where I’m wrong in my legal analysis, it appears that once again, they’re simply not bothering to do their homework,” says Simm.