Covert filmer's name permanently suppressed

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Protecting the identity of women and girls captured in covert recordings by a man in central Wellington would have been an important factor in the judge's decision to grant permanent name suppression, a legal expert says.

The man, who had all identifying particulars suppressed, was today sentenced to 10 months' home detention by Judge Susan Thomas in the Wellington District court after earlier pleading guilty to six charges of making intimate visual recordings between February 2012 and March 2013.

Secret recordings of at least 180 women and girls were made by the man. According to the police summary of facts, which was previously read in court, the man used gaffer tape to attach a small camera to his laptop bag enabling him to film up the skirts and dresses of females.

Auckland University Law professor Warren Brookbanks said Judge Thomas would have taken into account any possible "adverse effects'' on the man's victims should he be named.

"Part of the reason is to protect [the identity of] victims of these offences.''

This would have been weighed against the right of the public to have information, he said.

After the man was sentenced, police said it sent a clear message that such behaviour would not be tolerated by the public.

"This sort of offending is not common, but the case is a useful reminder for people to be alert to suspicious behaviour when they [are] out in public places,'' Detective Sergeant Glenn Barnett of Wellington police said.

Details of the man's case show police seized 1400 recordings from him, and opened 98.

All but four contained intimate recordings of 180 females. The footage included women with children and babies. Some were also undressed in a private bathroom. Twenty-eight girls in school uniform were also captured by the man's laptop camera.

Mr Barnett urged people to report any suspicious behaviour that concerned them.

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

- APNZ

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