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Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Internal Affairs man in hidden-camera case

Exclusive: Staff member accused of making bathroom recordings has quit, department says

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A man is before the courts after allegedly making covert recordings of people in a Wellington bathroom while he worked for the Department of Internal Affairs.

The Herald has been told the alleged offending involved the installation of hidden recording equipment. Internal Affairs last night said it had investigated the case and ruled out any of its premises being used or its employees being victims.

The man is facing six counts of making an intimate visual recording of another person, and will appear in the Wellington District Court this morning.

It is alleged the recordings were made between February 1 and October 30 last year.

The man was working for the department at the time of the alleged offending but has since resigned.

After his first appearance, in March, he was granted interim name suppression.

The order prevents the Herald publishing his name, age, the specifics of his role at the department and other personal details that may lead to his identification. He is yet to enter a plea.

The Department of Internal Affairs is, among other things, responsible for making sure New Zealand's censorship legislation is enforced, protecting people from "material that is injurious to the public good".

As part of that, the department seeks to prevent the production and distribution of material, including images and film, deemed "objectionable".

Internal Affairs spokesman Tony Wallace said yesterday that he was aware police had been investigating the man, who was no longer working for the department.

"The police informed us of an investigation into allegations of behaviour outside the workplace. The department began an employment process, which led to him not being at work from the time of the police action.

"Later, the employee resigned. We investigated to confirm that no employees were victims and no department premises were involved."

The man's work computer was examined and nothing untoward was found on it, the department said.

Mr Wallace said there was nothing to indicate any of the alleged filming happened at any Internal Affairs sites.

"We are not aware of anything at all to suggest that any of the charges relate to activity on any of our premises, and do not know of anything to suggest that any of our employees, past or present, have been victims of the alleged offending."

Employees with concerns about the alleged offending or who had a close working relationship with the accused had been supported, Mr Wallace said.

"We do not employ any victims of this alleged offending, to our knowledge."

He said Internal Affairs was "very active" in stopping images like those the man had allegedly filmed.

"The department ... works closely with the police wherever it can support their work in giving a priority to detecting and prosecuting such offending," he said.

"People have a right to privacy, and especially to protection from the sort of offending alleged in this case.

"We work to ensure our workplaces are safe and secure and that staff are protected from any intrusive actions."

Because of the suppression order and the fact the case was before the courts, police could not comment on the specifics of the charges or their investigation into the man.

- NZ Herald

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