Human Bodies
Soliciting in Brighton

I had so much fun walking around Reading that I decided to do the same performance again in Brighton. However, this time when we got off the train, we were surrounded by the police.

The police told me to go back to London. I replied that I didn’t have to because my behaviour was legal. I also told them about the friendly reception I had experienced in Reading two weeks earlier.

PICTURE: Daisy the dog and Rick Gibson surrounded by police officers and news reporters on the platform at the Brighton British Rail station

A senior police officer then told me that my experience in Reading was irrelevant. He also said that if I left the train station and walked into Brighton he would arrest me for “behaviour likely to disturb the peace”.

As we talked, we slowly drifted out of the train station and into a car park, where we were joined by some news reporters and a curious lawyer.

PICTURE: Rick Gibson talking to two police officers, two journalists and a lawyer (back to camera.)

The lawyer told everyone that “disturbing the peace” was a minor offence and that the harshest punishment was a small fine.

PICTURE: Rick Gibson talking to two police officers and a lawyer

After listening to the lawyer, I told the police that it didn’t make sense that my event was allowed in one part of the country (Reading) but not in another part (Brighton). So I started walking towards the high street.

At that point the senior officer arrested me, put me in the back of a police car and drove me to the central police station.

PICTURE: Rick Gibson being put into the back of a police car by the senior police officer

At the station I was put in a jail cell and served a hot lunch.

After lunch, the Brighton police chief came to my cell and said that, since it was the weekend, my trial would have to wait until Monday. So he gave me a choice: I could either stay in jail for the weekend or I could stop my event, go home and return to court on Monday.

For me, the next stage was a courtroom, not a jail cell. So I left the police station and went back to London with Daisy and her owner.

As soon as I got home, I phoned the lawyer who had talked to me in Brighton and I explained the situation. Upon hearing my story, he offered to defend me in court.

During the trial on Monday, the lawyer spoke about freedom of speech and I talked about the friendly reception I had experienced in Reading. Nevertheless, the judge found me guilty of “behaviour likely to disturb the peace” and told me to stay out of trouble for a year, otherwise he'd charge me with the more serious crime of contempt of court.

The performance ended when I left the courtroom.