The former bouncer at the centre of the "Tindallgate" incident during the 2011 Rugby World Cup is appealing his conviction and sentence.
Jonathan Dixon, 42, who leaked CCTV video footage of England captain Mike Tindall in a Queenstown bar where Dixon worked, was found guilty by an Invercargill jury last April of dishonestly obtaining the video from the bar by accessing a computer system.
The footage showed Tindall apparently flirting with an old flame and attracted wide media interest. Tindall is married to Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter, Zara.
Dixon was sentenced in August to four months' community detention and 300 hours' community work.
In the Court of Appeal today Dixon's counsel David More argued that the CCTV footage obtained by Dixon was not "property" under the Crimes Act, meaning Dixon should not have been convicted.
The footage was an electronic work and did not become property until it was printed or converted into some other physical or tangible thing, More said.
The sentence was "manifestly excessive" and handed down only because of the high profile of the case and the celebrities involved.
"I think everyone got carried away with the players involved in this case," he said.
"Had he gone into the bar with his own camera he wouldn't have committed any offence."
The bar had not been negatively affected and had actually used the publicity in subsequent promotional material, More said.
Crown prosecutor Stephanie Edwards said the electronic version of the footage had to be "property" and the conviction was correct.
"There is no difference between the electronic image and the same one being printed," she said.
The security company which Dixon worked for was negatively affected by the episode as it lost its contract with the bar after the incident, Edwards said.
This meant Dixon's offending had caused significant harm to them, as well as others, and the sentence was justified.
Dixon was not in court for the appeal.
The court reserved its decision.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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