Saturday, September 08, 2007

Buff Carpenter Scrapes By

Judge acquits nude carpenter of indecency

Friday, September 7, 2007

(09-06) 21:02 PDT OAKLAND -- Percy Honniball, an Oakland carpenter with a fondness for working in the buff, was acquitted today of misdemeanor indecent exposure.

"I wanted to go to trial to prove that the charge could not stick, that it was an over-reaction, " said the 51-year-old building contractor. "You don't expect to all of a sudden see somebody in the nude, but there was never a threat, never anyone in danger."

In October 2005, Honniball was working on a bookshelf project at a client's house in the Montclair district of Oakland when a neighbor spotted him carrying materials in the nude, said Honniball's attorney, David Beauvais.

"The neighbor happened to be a police officer in Berkeley, she reported him," Beauvais said. "He was engaged in an activity where he was not intending to draw attention, he was simply doing his work. He was not acting in a lewd manner."

Honniball had previously clashed with local law enforcement over public nakedness - Berkeley had cited him three times since 2000.

Ending a three-day, non-jury trial, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Julie Conger today acquitted him, sparing Honniball a lifetime of registering as a sex offender.

Prosecutor Erin Loback said she had no comment.

As for Honniball, he's learned his lesson. If grudgingly.

"He's not going to continue to work naked, at least not where he'll be in a public area," said Beauvais.

Email Elizabeth Fernandez at efernandez@sfchroni

http://sfgate. com/cgi-bin/ article.cgi? f=/c/a/2007/ 09/07/BAKIS11B8. DTL



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