WOODFORD GREEN: Senior councillor in court on indecent exposure charge (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Snaresbrook councillor Peter Goody charged with exposing himself to nine-year-old girl
ONE of the longest-serving councillors in Redbridge exposed himself to a nine-year-old girl before telling police he did not think it was an offence, a court has heard.
Snaresbrook ward councillor Peter Goody, was at his home in Glengall Road, Woodford Green, when he was arrested on July 28 this year.
Waltham Forest Magistrates Court was told he had been gardening while wearing only a pair of blue swimming trunks when a schoolgirl, whose identity is protected, rode by on a bike and stopped to stroke a cat.
She told the court: “I was walking towards him because I saw a cat near him. I thought it was his cat. I looked at him and he did it.
“He just pulled the front part [of his trunks] down but not the back part. He kept doing it. “I just thought it was disgusting. I didn’t think someone would do that in the street.”
Goody’s defence counsel Azeem Khan suggested the incident may have come about accidentally while his client was adjusting his trunks.
Cross-examining the girl, he said: “When you first saw him pulling his pants up, I’m saying to you the reason why he was doing it was his pants were quite loose.
“They didn’t fit properly. That’s possible, isn’t it?”
The girl, who gave her answers in court via a video link, began crying and the questioning was stopped.
The court also heard from the arresting officer in the case, Detective Constable Jamie Da’Bell.
Mr Da’Bell said it had taken 10 minutes of knocking before Goody’s wife had opened the door and, when he went in, he found Goody lying naked on a bed.
He said he then arrested Goody, adding: “I explained to him an allegation of indecent exposure had been made to police.
“After about 30 seconds to a minute the response came: “The last I knew it wasn’t an offence to get my willy out’.”
Mr Da’Bell said he wrote the phrase in his notebook and asked Goody to sign it off, but the councillor refused.
He also told the court a card had been found in Goody’s wallet indicating he was a member of a naturist group.
Respected Peter Goody, 62, has been a Redbridge councillor since 1975, and is a former deputy council leader and deputy Conservative group leader.
Keith Prince, leader of Redbridge Council, was only made aware of Goody’s court appearance when he was telephoned by the Guardian earlier today.
All he would say was that he would be suspending Goody from the Conservative Group on the council.
Goody denies one charge of indecent exposure and was released on bail on condition he does not contact the alleged victim or visit roads near her home.
His trial is due to resume on January 17 next year.