No jail time for electronics store manager convicted of voyeurism

A Carnduff businessman convicted of voyeurism was sentenced to house arrest Thursday after he placed a "nanny cam" in the washroom of his store and spied on his female employees.

Brian Cowie of Carnduff, Sask., put video camera in washroom, spied on female employees

Brian Cowie pleaded guilty to seven counts of voyeurism in connection with a camera hidden in the washroom of his Carnduff computer store. He received a nine-month conditional sentence on Thursday. (Google Street View)

A Carnduff businessman convicted of voyeurism was sentenced to house arrest Thursday after he placed a "nanny cam" in the washroom of his store and spied on his female employees.

Brian Cowie, 52, who ran the Source computer store in Carnduff, had pleaded guilty to seven counts of voyeurism in January. He had told court that he had been filming his female employees using the washroom for a period of four to five years.

Cowie remorseful, defence lawyer says

Court heard he placed the video camera for his own sexual purposes and that he got a thrill from looking at the images.

In court on Thursday, Cowie's lawyer Paul Elash said his client is overwhelmed by guilt and shame and is undergoing counselling.

Elash said Cowie wants to write letters of apology to all his victims.

He noted that Cowie entered guilty pleas to the seven charges before calling a lawyer.

The Source has pulled its franchise from the store in Carnduff, which is in the southeast corner of the province, about 90 kilometres east of Estevan.

Elash asked for a suspended sentence, which would have meant probation.

Crimes warrant jail time, prosecutor says

However, Crown prosecutor Chris White argued that a non-jail sentence wasn't enough.

"He ran the Source computer store. He would repair customers computers and search for porno when he was repairing them. We have numerous victims. The offence warrants jail," White said.

He said the victims, some of whose victim impact statements he read, now fear washrooms and their self-esteem has been lowered.

"I am 17 years old. We don't know what he did with those videos. My mom and my little sister used that washroom," wrote one of the victims. 

One of the young employees said she allowed her girlfriends to use the washroom.

"We are seeing this more and more," White said. 

"Cameras are being hidden where people expect privacy. He had planned to do this and did this for several years. It is a breach of trust."

In sentencing, Judge Lane Weigers said he had to give a sentence that would be a deterrent to others.

Cowie had caused fear, humiliation, exploitation, anger, and frustration to his victims, Weigers, who looked at similar cases before deciding his sentence.

"I view this as serious as the other cases if not more," Judge Weigers said.

He gave Cowie a conditional sentence of nine months to be served in his community. 

The sentence will resemble imprisonment, court was told. Cowie must remain in his residence or at work for four months and after that will have a five-month curfew from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST.

He must appear for police checks, continue his treatment and not possess pornography.

After the first nine months, he will be on probation for another nine.

He must pay a victim surcharge of $1,400.

The victims and family members were present in the court room.

Special from Sylvia MacBean