Home detention for upskirt filmer

Last updated 13:16 24/07/2013

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Wellington

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A Wellington man who had 94 videos from up the skirts of 180 women or of them undressing in bathrooms has been given ten months home detention.

The 36-year-old man had pleaded guilty to six counts of making intimate visual recordings around Wellington for most of last year.

His name was suppressed, but only because of the fear his wife suffered about media coverage and her suicidal thoughts since he was charged.

Wellington District Court judge Susan Thomas said the name was so uncommon that it would not easily be forgotten.

Judge Thomas said it was the second case before her today with another man pleading guilty earlier in the morning to make a recording of a woman in a shop changing room.

"It is so easy to do with modern technology but has a significant impact on the victims,'' she said.

Judge Thomas also ordered that he not have any access to equipment capable of making a digital recording and any he did have had to be handed over to be checked.

She also ordered the destruction of all recordings.

The man had altered a laptop bag to hide a camera.

He would follow groups of school girls in Wellington's central business district and manoeuvre the camera to show up their skirts.

Sometimes he would follow them into shops or food stores.

Each recording would have multiple victims and five Wellington high schools were identified.

He sometimes targeted mothers with young children.

He also filmed female colleagues from his church, women in his own bathroom and a woman in her own home where he had hidden a camera.

The man was caught when store security spotted what he was doing.

The judge said a psychological report showed the man had voyeuristic paraphilia but had been having treatment and his risk of reoffending was moderated by what he had already done to get treatment.

She described the man's family as being devastated and his wife's world as collapsing after his offending was discovered.

Judge Thomas said there had been 94 recordings of 180 women, some of which had been identified, including the woman who was filmed trying on her wedding dress in her own home.

"She could not believe she had been betrayed that way.  Another woman felt disgusted and repulsed.''

She said the man had justified the offending to himself that if the victims did not know they would not be hurt.

The man's lawyer  Andru Isac said he had not uploaded or distributed any of the images and while they were taken for sexual purposes, it was not a sexual offence.

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He said it had been ruinous for the man, who had lost a job, had to watch his wife suffering, was unable to meet financial commitments and ruined his reputation.

Detective Sergeant Glenn Barnett of Wellington CIB said the community would not tolerate this kind of behaviour and urged the public to be vigilant of such offending.

"This sort of offending is not common but the case is a useful reminder for people to be alert to suspicious behaviour when they out in public places," he said.

"In this case the offender was apprehended as a result of an alert security guard noticing him attempting to covertly film in a store.

"If you see someone acting suspiciously - particularly if they seem to be getting too close to someone in a public place - then call police. A common sense approach should tell you what doesn't look right.

"If you think you have been a victim of such activity then we would also urge you to contact police.  It is important that these individuals are stopped before they go on to create further victims." 

- The Dominion Post

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