Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Streaking Definition:

Dashing through a public area in the nude.

In R v Niman, the facts were:

"At 8:15 p.m. on 29th March the accused was observed by a police officer running nude along a street in downtown Ottawa with only a red scarf around his neck. Others on the street saw the accused. He said he was going to buy a case of beer. The accused had accepted a dare from his friends to streak to the Brewers Retail store."

In Niman, Judge Swabey of the Ontario Provincial Court found the accused guilty of but gave him an absolute discharge, noting:

"For as long as one can remember, springtime in our society has usually been accompanied by a variety of highjinx on the part of students of universities and high schools. Any rationale for such activities must be left to the social scientists to explain but one conclusion that can be drawn from the nature of these activities is that they are, by design, ludicrous and by impulse conceived. Certainly, such activities are lacking in redeeming value, and in many instances they give the appearance of irresponsibility and in some instances are actions devoid of social consciousness. While we have become accustomed to this annual ritual of acting out on the part of young people, the means by which these young people choose to act out never seems to fail to shock the rest of the community. At different points in recent times these activities have included the swallowing of goldfish, the raiding of co-ed dormitories in search for female undergarments, the occupation of telephone booths with record numbers of human beings, the rolling of beds on wheels over record numbers of miles of our highways, and the captivation of the attention of unsuspecting persons through the sudden baring of the posterior accompanied by an expression not unlike the final declaration in a chess match. As the winter snow began to melt this spring the imaginations of students turned away from their studies and once again the phenomena scholarly highjinx erupted on campuses and school-grounds.

streaking"This year's expression of nonsense has taken the form of dashing over pre-arranged routes in the nude. The routes chosen for these unannounced sprints have usually crossed through areas where large groups of people have gathered to witness some other event. The number of persons participating in these runs has varied from just a single person on the one hand, to several dozen persons on other occasions. While such activity has been predominantly a male exercise, there have been occasions where male and female have joined together in bared flight and even instances where one or more females have gone it alone.

"The younger generation, as it so often does, has coined a new word for the vocabulary of our modern English usage by referring to this year's spring fad as streaking and the news media, in an effort to cover all that is uncovered, has featured many reports about streaking incidents which have occurred across the country in the last few months. Indeed, the term streaking has now become a household word and each new incident of streaking has become the subject of casual conversation by persons of all stations in life."

In Springer, the accused was facing a charge of indecency for racing across a football field in Regina, Saskatchewan.

The first judge to hear the case gave him a 30-day jail sentence. On appeal, Justice McIntyre found that there was no "moral turpitude" in Springer's actions and acquitted him adding:

"Streaking has been a well known phenomenon of recent months in that people, sometimes young, will disrobe and run through a public area."

"Streaking has been noted throughout North America at colleges, universities, department stores, public streets and even on television on the Academy Awards - that is, anywhere the public gathers. On occasion it has been equated to goldfish swallowing, panty raids, the occupation of telephone booths by record numbers, mooning and other related activities and while it may not be generally approved by the public it has certainly not met with cries of injured outrage or alarm but it has been accepted by the public with amused tolerance."


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