British Columbia

Vancouver Island man who secretly filmed woman on toilet gets conditional discharge

One July day in 2016, an American tourist was using a coffee shop bathroom on Vancouver Island when she noticed a smartphone hidden under the sink. When she picked it up, she found a video recording of herself on the toilet.

32-year-old pleaded guilty to voyeurism, but that will be stripped from his record in 3 years

The victim, a visitor from Michigan, was using the toilet in a coffee shop when she noticed the hidden smartphone. ( Charity Tober)

One July day in 2016, an American tourist was using a coffee shop bathroom on Vancouver Island when she noticed a smartphone hidden under the sink. When she picked it up, she found a video recording of herself on the toilet.

The phone also contained footage of a man hiding the phone under the sink. When the woman left the coffee shop with her husband, she noticed someone wearing the same clothing as the man in the video. 
 

She called the police

That 32-year-old man, whose identity is protected and given as P.B.D. in court documents, received a conditional discharge last month after pleading guilty to voyeurism. That means the crime will be removed from his record after three years as long as he abides by certain conditions.

In a sentencing decision, Provincial Court Judge Parker MacCarthy said it was clear the crime had a significant negative effect on the victim, and that her "essential human dignity" was violated.

But, the judge wrote, "I also accept as being somewhat mitigating ... the significant underlying psychological issues that this offender apparently has had for some period of time and which have remained untreated. I do accept that there has been a significant amount of remorse and insight now expressed by the offender."

Parker added that while a psychologist had deemed P.B.D. a "moderated or elevated" risk to reoffend, "I am satisfied that it is more than likely that the risk is at the lower end of what is described as 'moderate or elevated' classification."

A 'special' video

The court heard that P.B.D. does not have much sexual experience and spends most of his free time alone, playing video games. He enjoys watching online videos of women who've been secretly recorded, and told the psychologist who interviewed him that he thought it would be "more special" if he made his own video.

The psychologist concluded that P.B.D.'s "desire to record unsuspecting females [is] a response to his chronic loneliness and frustration and inability to develop an intimate relationship, for a period going back some 15 years," the judge said.

The victim said she's now afraid of using public bathrooms. (CBC)

Meanwhile, the victim, a Michigan woman, has been seriously affected by the incident, according to a victim impact statement submitted to the court.

"She has been left with a fear of using public restrooms. She now tries to avoid them at all costs. She indicates that she now requires someone to stand by doors if she has to use a public restroom and she cannot avoid that requirement. She spends her time examining washrooms for cameras, phones and similar devices," MacCarthy said.

In order for the voyeurism guilty plea to be stripped from P.B.D's record, he'll have to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 30 months and report to a probation officer. He'll also have to keep his probation officer informed about his relationship and employment status and attend any treatment programs the officer recommends.

He's also barred from having any contact with the victim and will have to forfeit the smartphone he used to record her.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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