Hartlepool man cleared of exposing himself as he applied for a new benefit claim
A benefits claimant who was cleared of flashing himself at a woman helping him with the application forms was awarded his costs by a judge.
A jury found Gavin Knight, 38, not guilty of exposing himself behind the sheets of A4 papers during the interview for benefits.
Knight, who suffers from anxiety and gave evidence from behind screens at Teesside Crown Court said that it did not happen and that what she saw was his hands.
Knight, who was getting help to claim Personal Independent Payment, said when he gave evidence at his two-day trial that he would never do such a thing.
Prosecutor Jon Harley said that when Detective Constable Gemma Andrews asked him what she could have seen he replied: “My hands.
”I twiddle my hands.
”If she said she saw something it would have been my hands
“I know what I did or did not do. I did not expose it.”
The woman said in the witness box that she took a glance and saw what she thought was him exposing his his penis at the top of the form.
”When I looked again I thought I had got to get out of the room.
”It was unexpected, I was in disbelief.”
She said that she had worked in her field for many years “and seen many things, but I had never seen anything like that.
”I did not feel scared, but I did feel slightly uncomfortable.”
Michael Cahill, defending, told the jury in his closing speech: “Before you convict you must be sure.”
Knight, of Dorset Street, Hartlepool, was found not guilty of indecent exposure after the jury retired for two hours.
Judge James Brown awarded him his personal costs.