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North Sydney accused found not guilty of committing indecent act

SYDNEY, N.S. — A North Sydney man alleged to have exposed his penis while mowing a lawn to a female running by was found not guilty Wednesday of committing an indecent act.

“I believe him that he didn’t expose himself,” said provincial court Judge Ann Marie MacInnes, in acquitting John Brenton Hatfield of the offence.

Hatfield, 54, of Queen Street, was alleged to have committed the offence in July 2016 in North Sydney.

MacInnes rendered her verdict after hearing evidence in a trial that included testimony from the complainant and Hatfield.

The woman claimed she was out for a run, as part of her training for a 10km race, and as she ran by Hatfield, he undid his zipper and exposed his penis to her. She said he wasn’t wearing any underwear.

The woman said she ran to a nearby restaurant and told two people what had happened before running back to the location where Hatfield was mowing.

The woman testified she approached the owner of the property and told her what had happened and the owner expressed shock because Hatfield had been employed for several years without any problems.

The woman then ran to the police department and filed a complaint.

A co-worker testified he was within eyesight of Hatfield at all times and never saw anything inappropriate.

The woman also testified she could not answer whether it was possible that Hatfield was merely tucking in his shirt when the exposure was alleged to have occurred.

MacInnes said Hatfield testified in a clear and concise manner and that his testimony was not shaken during cross-examination.

She concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the claim that Hatfield had exposed himself.

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