Saturday, May 07, 2016

Muscle fan wins bicep-touching ban court victory

A ‘muscle fanatic’ has had an ten-year ban on touching men’s biceps lifted. Akinwale Arobieke, also known as Purple Aki, has had a long-held fascination with pumped up physiques that has led to notoriety and repeated brushes with the law. He is known for approaching younger males and striking up conversations about weight training, before touching and measuring their muscles, and then inviting them to squat his body weight. Now Mr Arobieke, 54, has vowed to ‘reinvent himself’ in a quest for a ‘fresh start’. In 2003 he was jailed for six years after being convicted of harassing 15 well-muscled males.

Three years later, while he was still behind bars, a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) was made, on the application of Merseyside Police, which banned him touching men’s muscles and going to gyms. Since the SOPO was made, Mr Arobieke has appeared repeatedly in court accused of breaching it in Manchester. Now the unique ban has been scrapped - after Mr Arobieke successfully appealed against it. The move brings to an end a lengthy and expensive series of hearings for alleged breaches stretching from North Wales to Manchester and Leeds, which have led to him spending months behind bars on remand.

Representing himself in court, Mr Arobieke argued that while his behaviour had breached the court order, it was not actually criminal in its own right and it was not sexual. He said if his behaviour did cross the line into criminal behaviour, then he should be dealt with under assault charges or sex charges like any other citizen. “If it’s not consensual I’ll get arrested”, he said. “The common law protects every member of the public.” Judge Richard Mansell QC, sitting at Manchester Crown Court, said while Arobieke’s breaches of the order were a ‘serious matter’ - the restrictions it placed on his ‘freedoms’ could ‘no longer be justified’.

Lifting the order would allow him to pursue his interest in an ‘appropriate venue’, the judge said, like a gym or a bodybuilding event. “The ban on touching muscles is just not on”, the judge said. “I’m not into bodybuilding myself, but I’d have thought men who have muscles in their arms the diameter of my leg are the sort of men who will admire each other’s bodies. They don’t build the body up to hide it under loose-fitting sweatshirts. They are men likely to talk to and weigh and measure each other.” The lifting of the SOPO came as Mr Arobieke was given a suspended sentence after admitting flouting it four times. The judge gave him an 18 month suspended sentence for the breach offences, suspended for two years, with a 60 day rehabilitation order and a warning that if he breached it, he would be jailed.

No comments: