A Harrogate man has today been found guilty of causing alarm and distress by intentionally exposing his genitals, as defined under section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
Mark Alan Cartwight, from St John’s Crescent in Harrogate, born 14 July 1986, was found guilty following trial at Harrogate Magistrates Court on 24 September 2015.
The Court heard witness statements that on the 11 February 2015 he was naked in the window of a property while performing a sexual act upon himself. This was seen by both a passing 7-year-old and on two other occasions by an adult.
A recorded interview video of the 7-year-old child was played to the Court. This was taken shortly after the incident and showed PC Michele Fawcett of Harrogate Police interviewing the minor. The video showed a very sensitive interview of the child, but one that was later commented upon by the Magistrate as providing credible evidence.
A video link was also used to interview the child by the court with both prosecution and defence lawyers putting question to her.
The court heard that from the mother of the child that she had been rushing to take her child to school and her daughter had told her that she had seen a man naked in a window although did not see him herself.
The adult witness gave an account that she had witnessed Mr Cartwright naked in the window staring at her and was very shocked. Around ten minutes later she looked again and could clearly see that he was still naked in the window and performing a sex act on himself. She accounted that he was stood directly in the window with one hand on the top of the window, while looking out. This was something she said made her feel shocked and angry.
Mr Cartwright explained that he had his own room in a shared house and would often perform a morning workout naked. He explained that this was normally done further back in the room, but a recent delivery of furniture required him to do the workout nearer the window.
He said that on that day following his workout he decided to masturbate by the side of the window. He disagreed with previous accounts that he had been in full view of the window, but accepted that he had been witnessed performing the act.
Mr Cartwright said he was sorry for what had happened and that he didn’t realise that he could be seen and he simply did not think about his actions. He also said that he fitted net curtains the day after the incident.
The court was presented with two accounts which focused around the intent of the actions.
Mr Cartwright did not deny performing the act and offered mitigation that he had no idea that he could be seen, however witness statements did testify that he was in the window for sometime and had been making eye contact.
The Magistrates concluded that the 7-year-old was a reliable witness and the other adult witness had corroborated her statements. They said that they believed Mr Cartwright had intended to cause alarm and distress by his actions and found him guilty.
Mr Cartwright was placed on the sex offenders register and will be sentenced on 15 October 2015.