15 Oct 2020

Spy camera case: Ex-govt worker applies to keep name secret and criminal record clear

5:21 pm on 15 October 2020

A man who repeatedly hid a spy camera in an Auckland gym's changing rooms has applied to appeal in a bid to keep his name secret and his criminal record clear.

18072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Wellington High Court.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The man went to the gym at least four times in November 2017 and stuck a small camera under a sink, capturing a naked couple getting into a shower together, as well as other people naked or partially dressed.

The man, who held a senior role at a government agency when he committed the offence, was given a discharge without conviction and permanent name suppression in the district court.

However, last month police appealed and a High Court judge quashed both the permanent name suppression and the discharge without conviction.

In the reserved decision, which was embargoed until this evening, Justice Moore found District Court Judge Clare Bennett had consulted the incorrect summary of facts, so thought the man had only placed the camera in the changing rooms once.

Justice Moore said the man's crime "involved significant premeditation" and was "unequivocally serious offending".

He entered a conviction and said the man should be sentenced in the district court next month.

Previous cases suggested the starting point for sentencing would be a short term of imprisonment, Justice Moore said.

RNZ and NZME supported the police's challenge to name suppression. One of the man's victims, who had said she was sickened when she realised she had been filmed naked, also wanted him named.

"The public interest in disclosure plainly supplants the private and personal interests of [the man]," Justice Moore decided.

However, today, the man applied for leave to appeal in the Court of Appeal on the grounds Justice Moore had erred in his assessment of the gravity of the offending and his assessment of the direct and indirect consequences of a conviction.