A Belgian tourist caught filming a woman in a shower at a Cromwell backpackers has been ordered to pay her $1500 in emotional harm reparation.

Charles Henri Dumont appeared at the Queenstown District Court on Monday, where he admitted one charge of making an intimate visual recording on August 1 this year.

In sentencing, Judge Mark Callaghan said the 29-year-old sports management student, who was on holiday with his girlfriend, had been caught by the victim.

The woman had found him hiding in a toilet cubicle recording her on his cellphone, the court heard.


"She got you to delete the intimate video recording,'' Judge Callaghan said.

The woman then told Dumont's girlfriend, who checked the phone to make sure the recording had been wiped.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she had been emotionally upset by the incident.

"She has had trouble sleeping since and been particularly cautious living in holiday accommodation."

Dumont's lawyer Louise Denton said her client had apologised to the victim.

Dumont had grown up in Burundi until the age of 18, where he had a "view of atrocities'', the court was told.

"Bodies along the side of the road were a common occurrence while he was growing up,'' Denton said.

Dumont's father died in a scuba diving accident three years ago. Then, while volunteering as a firefighter, Dumont was first on the scene of a fatal traffic crash. His best friend was the victim and he had to pull the body from the wreckage.

Denton said Dumont believed the psychological trauma may now be "manifesting'' in his out-of-character behaviour.

She said Dumont realised he needed help from a psychiatrist, although a supervision sentence would be problematic, as he was due to leave New Zealand on Saturday.

Judge Callaghan told Dumont the offence carried a maximum sentence of three years' imprisonment and was treated "very seriously'' by the courts.

But, given Dumont's background, early guilty plea, apology and remorse, a monetary penalty was appropriate, the judge said.

Dumont was ordered to make an emotional harm reparation payment of $1500 to the victim.