Wandering Eye: 5 Legal Facts About Voyeurism Offences

  • Michael Grant
  • July 7, 2018

Voyeurism is a criminal act where someone tries to gain sexual pleasure when others are engaging in sexual activity or watching others who are naked. It also includes other acts of spying on someone who is undressing or that is thought to be something private.

Someone who is convicted of voyeurism will cause damage to their credibility and reputation and even their employment prospects. The person will be put on the sexual offender registry for many years. Here are some things you need to know about this criminal activity.

1. More On Voyeurism

Apart from the points mentioned, voyeurism also includes making recordings of someone when they really should have expected to have privacy. The recording (or expected recording) of breasts and genitalia or sexual activity is voyeurism. It also includes doing this for sexual pleasure. Once such recordings (or photos) are taken, it is illegal to sell, distribute, print, copy or publish these, since it was obtained secretly and illegally.

2. Technology & Secret Recordings

Unfortunately, advancement in technology is not always put to good use. The ability to make recording devices that are smaller and inconspicuous allows criminals to do illegal things, such as looking up a woman’s skirt. Other examples include recording someone when they are in a washroom, hiding a camera in a stepdaughter’s room or someone hiding and taking a video using a zoom lens while a child is being changed by a caretaker. There are many of these types of devices that have become smaller and more powerful to enable a voyeur to surreptitiously record these images.

3. A Twist In The Tale

The law can sometimes also be a funny thing. A person who is caught doing this may actually get away scot-free. Someone taking photos on a nude (public) beach from afar using a camera that is not concealed may get away in a court of law. They may therefore not be found guilty of voyeurism as they did not secretly or surreptitiously make these recordings.

4. Defences For Voyeurism

There are some defences for voyeurism such as making a recording for public good. A good criminal lawyer may also successfully defend someone if they can prove that the recording was not done surreptitiously. If a person is in a place where they could not expect to have privacy and the recording is made, then the accused may also be successfully defended. If the accused can also prove that they did not intend to capture any nudity, breasts, genitals or sexual activity, then they may actually be defended successfully.

5. How The Judge Decides

In many instances, it may be pretty clear but sometimes, it can be tricky for a judge to make a decision. The court has to decide whether or not the secret recordings were done for some sexual purpose. The judge has to look at it from an observer’s point of view and not what the person making the recording was thinking. The judge has to objectively decide whether the recording was meant to cause some kind of sexual stimulation for some viewers.

Voyeurism is a serious offence that can drastically change the life of the voyeur, but also that of the victim. If someone is charged with this criminal offence, they are going to need the help of a criminal lawyer.

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Hello, my name is Michael and I'm a cancer survivor. I'm also a home entrepreneur and stay-at-home grandfather. In the past thirty years, I've dabbled in the the financial sector, the technology industry, as well as a little business consulting. I guess you can call me a jack of all trades!