Man accused of indecent exposures on canal path appears in court

A 39-year-old ‘selective mute’ man accused of indecently exposing himself and approaching woman on a canal towpath with notes asking them to do the same has been remanded in custody for two weeks today.

Cheltenham Magistrates Court was told that Ashley Brown, of no fixed abode, chooses to be a mute and does not communicate verbally.

He confirmed his name and date of birth to the court by nodding his head over the video link from Hewell Prison in the Midlands.

Solicitor Clare Buckley, for Brown, told the court “I’m not convinced that holding this hearing over the videolink is a good idea.

He is a selective mute who communicates only by writing things down.

This is not possible over the link.

“My firm has previously represented Mr Brown and we have actively been in the process of obtaining a psychiatric report on him, which arrived this week.

“The report concludes he is mentally fit enough to plead.

“However, I have seen Mr Brown a few times since the psychiatrist saw him and I have become increasingly concerned over his mental health during this time, as I feel it is in decline.

“I feel I need an addendum report to see if he is still mentally fit to plead.

“I am also concerned that while he has been in prison on remand he has not been seen by anybody from mental health service team.

“I feel this case should be adjourned for Mr Brown to be produced in person so that a meaningful consultation can be had and so that I can then take full instructions.”

Brown is charged with using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence towards three people in Gloucester on March 31, 2022. 

He is also charged with causing a nuisance/disturbance towards staff on NHS premises on July 12, 2022 at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital plus two common assaults in Stroud on July 12, 2022. 

Brown also has five charges of ‘displaying visible representation with intent to cause harassment/alarm or distress on October 17, 2022 and two charges of indecent exposure on October 18, 2022.

Presiding Justice Kathryn Bailey told Brown that he is being remanded in custody and that a production order will be made for him to attend the court in person on November 10.

The charges against Mr Brown include alleged incidents on the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal when women were approached and shown notes asking them to indecently expose themselves.

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