A TEACHER was today found not guilty of committing an act outraging public decency at Newport’s Cineworld cinema.
District Judge Richard Williams said a mother and her young daughter misinterpreted "something innocent" in pointing the finger of blame at Nigel Blunt, 55, of Crescent Road, Risca.
It had been alleged that on November 8 last year, Mr Blunt entered the cinema to watch The Sapphires - a film about an all-girl Aboriginal singing group starring Chris O'Dowd - and had touched himself inappropriately.
The mother and daughter had been the only ones in the cinema apart from Mr Blunt and had been sat four rows behind him.
Defence solicitor Jonathan Holmes said the lay-out of the cinema meant the pair would have been unable to see anything but the back of Mr Blunt’s head and they had mistaken his movements while he scratched his chest.
He said: "They went to see a film they thought was a girlie film. When a man walked in, they were instantly wary, the daughter, frightened. That instant impression clouded what came next."
A trial started at Abergavenny Magistrates’ Court earlier this month and the District Judge visited the cinema this morning.
He sat where the mother and daughter were, with Mr Blunt taking the same seat he was in on November 8.
The case then resumed at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court, where the District Judge said he believed the complainants were sincere in what they alleged. However, he added: "They believe what they are saying is true, but this isn’t the same as it being correct."
He said from visiting the cinema and sitting where they were it would have been very difficult from them to have seen much of Mr Blunt’s body, especially with the lights dimmed.
He added: "From their sense of apprehension and anxiety that a man had walked in, this affected their interpretation of his movements. I am anything but sure they could see and something innocent could have been misinterpreted."