Ex-defence force official pleads not guilty to toilet filming

3:02 pm on 8 April 2019

A former high ranking Defence Force official has pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempting to make an intimate visual recording.

Alfred Keating

Alfred Keating. Photo: Facebook / New Zealand Embassy - Washington, D.C.

Alfred Keating is on trial in the Auckland District Court, accused of setting up a secret camera in a unisex bathroom in the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC.

Mr Keating was a Commodore in the New Zealand Navy at the time, and was the highest ranking New Zealand official at the embassy.

Today, Crown Prosecutor Henry Steele, told the jury how a person had hidden a small black 'Camscura Micro Hidden Camera' in a heating duct on 27 July, 2017.

That person had worn blue latex gloves to put the motion activated camera in position, said Mr Steele.

At about the same time, a person was caught on CCTV footage entering the bathroom, which investigators suspected was Mr Keating.

Later that day, the camera fell out of the duct, and was picked up by a driver at the embassy who placed it on a radiator.

Mr Steele showed the jury the camera, which looks similar to a hardrive or a pager.

A second staffer who subsequently used the toilet realised it was a camera, and alerted a co-worker who handed it in to the embassy.

It was then sent to New Zealand for forensic testing by police, who discovered an SD card containing 21 video files.

However, shortly after the camera was installed, it had fallen slightly, and so most of the footage was of people's feet.

Mr Steele said that in November 2017, a search of Mr Keating's personal laptop uncovered several internet searches relating to the camera.

Forensic investigations had also revealed that DNA found on the SD card matched that of Mr Keating, which Mr Steele said provided strong scientific support.

Mr Keating's lawyer, Ron Mansfield later compared the Crown's case to a celebrity magazine in a waiting room, with stories that did not live up to their racy headlines.

He said the case against his client was not strong, and that it boiled down not to whether the camera had been installed, but to whether Mr Keating had installed it.