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Tuesday, February 09, 2010 

ASBO for the skirt wearer, please.

Here's one of those stories so bizarre that it could almost be taken directly from the likes of Monkey Dust:

A 60-year-old man from Northampton has denied breaching an Asbo which bans him from dressing up as a schoolgirl.

Peter Trigger, of Farndon Close, appeared before Northampton magistrates charged with breaching his Asbo three times.

Mr Trigger was given a five-year Asbo in December 2008 after waiting near a primary school dressed as a schoolgirl.

He is banned from wearing a skirt between 0830 and 1000 GMT and between 1445 and 1600 GMT on school days.

He is also banned from showing bare legs and behaving in a manner which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others.

One of the things that strikes you is that this is an example of an ASBO where they've decided to be at least slightly lenient: Mr Trigger only has to ensure that he isn't wearing a skirt on school days between the hours when children tend to be travelling to or from school. If he so wishes to don stated attire at weekends, then he's completely free to do so. It's not entirely clear whether he's also only banned from showing bare legs and behaving in a way which causes or is likely to cause harassment during those hours also, but you would have to hope so.

The order was originally imposed after Trigger repeatedly took walks near a primary school, which is close to where he lives, "frightening" and "confusing" children, as you might expect he would. He also allegedly bent over, showed his thighs and "indicated he was wearing no other clothes". The problem with the order though is staggeringly clear: Trigger, despite being told repeatedly before an ASBO was sought that his behaviour was disturbing the children, carried on doing it. Either doing so sexually arouses him, he simply enjoys dressing as a schoolgirl, or he's completely ignorant of how what he's doing isn't normal.

If it's the latter, how on earth is he supposed to know that what he's doing is causing harassment, alarm or distress to others? Being barred from wearing certain clothes or rather not wearing them is one thing, but how do you stop yourself from behaving in a way which others will subjectively decide either isn't or is alarming? One of these three breaches is for allegedly causing distress, although whether he was also breaking the order by wearing the uniform at the same time isn't stated, despite happening on a separate occasion. You have to appreciate the difficulty of having to deal with such a problem, and that the safety of children is paramount, even if he simply seems to be strange rather an actual threat to them, yet the order has still been structured in such a way as to make it almost impossible not to breached. It has ultimately solved nothing, as ASBOs as a whole have failed to, hitting the behaviour but not dealing with the source of it.

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I remember that Roy Rogers used to ride Trigger, then Trigger went on to appear in Only Fools and Horses...

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