Friday, January 26, 2007

Second video voyeurism conviction in NS

The second (that I know of) conviction under Canada's new voyeurism laws took place yesterday in Halifax.

The Daily News: News Former sailor pleads guilty after trying to videotape neighbour


CRIME – A former sailor has pleaded guilty to trying to videotape a woman while she was changing in her own apartment.

In August of 2006 the woman was getting dressed in her walk-in closet when she spotted a video camera in the window pointed towards that part of the room. She was changing in the closet because her window was only partially covered by a blanket.

Karlson Glen Chaulk, who had been in the armed forces for nearly seven years, lived in the apartment above her. The two did not know each other, the court heard.

The woman called police and Chaulk admitted to committing the offence. He asked police if there was any way to make it go away, the court heard. Police found no images on the video camera.

Chaulk has two previous convictions, for impaired driving and possessing narcotics.

The court heard the victim moved from the residence because she no longer felt safe, costing her her damage deposit and moving expenses.

Chaulk told the court he was “truly sorry” for his actions and promised it would never happen again. “I do realize now that I shouldn’t have conducted myself in the way I did with the camera,” he said.

Judge Michael Sherar said not only is the charge sad and juvenile, but also deplorable. He asked Chaulk what he intended when he surreptitiously looked into someone else’s apartment. He also outlined how everyone has the right to privacy in their own home.

Chaulk has since resigned from the Defence Department and plans to move to Alberta tomorrow.

He was sentenced in Halifax provincial court yesterday to 90 days probation, ordered to pay a $500 fine and $450 restitution to the victim, as well as undergo counseling. He must also stay 150 metres from the woman’s home and workplace.

Chaulk is the second person in Canada to be sentenced for voyeurism, since the law was enacted in November 2005. The law makes it illegal to “surreptitiously observe or make a visual recording” for a sexual purpose.

The only other prosecuted case of voyeurism in Canada also took place in the province.

Winston Charles Patriquin of Port Howe, Cumberland Co., pleaded guilty last August to using a video camera to tape a girl in the bathtub.

Technology takes place of peeping Toms: lawyer

A Halifax privacy lawyer says technology is taking the place of the guy lurking outside the window.

David Fraser said what’s traditionally considered trespassing is now occurring digitally, without the physical presence of a perpetrator.

“People can be observed in a number of different contexts,” he said. “Hidden cameras in change rooms in stores. Hidden cameras in bathrooms in hotels.”

Canada’s voyeurism law was enacted in November 2005 to better protect children and other vulnerable victims from harm. The law makes it illegal to “surreptitiously observe or make a visual recording” for a sexual purpose.

Fraser said the law reflects the potential seriousness and intrusiveness of voyeurism. Enacting it was necessary, he says, to keep up with technological advances and the advent of miniature, wireless cameras.

“Thousands of companies sell wireless cameras and it’s pretty plain in the description of their products that they’re selling them for this sort of voyeurism,” he said. “Once this information is in digital form, it’s very easily transmitted.”

— Lindsay Jones

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