New Brunswick

Ex-YMCA worker given absolute discharge in voyeurism case

The former facilities manager of the Fredericton YMCA has been given an absolute discharge after being found guilty last month of voyeurism.

Crown argued for suspended sentence, defence wanted unconditional discharge

Hugh James Clifford Croll received an absolute discharge after being found guilty of voyeurism. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

The former facilities manager of the Fredericton YMCA has been given an absolute discharge after being found guilty last month of voyeurism. 

Hugh James Clifford Croll, 54, was granted the discharge by provincial court Judge Mary Jane Richards, who said it was not contrary to the public interest to do so. 

Croll had been found guilty of June 10 of voyeurism for placing a hidden camera in the men's locker room in an attempt to stop thefts. He had been accused of making visual recordings of people who had a reasonable expectation of privacy between Oct. 1, 2011 and July 31, 2012.

Richards said while Croll was a good citizen and had lost his job as a result of what he did, his actions were not "a spur of the moment lapse of judgement."

"Mr. Croll did not want the moniker 'voyeur' so he would not admit to it," Richards said during sentencing. 

But she said it was made clear during the trial what Croll's intentions were when he set the cameras up in the men's locker room at the YMCA.

During the trial, Croll testified he was trying to stop thefts from occurring. 

Prior to handing down the sentence, Richards heard from Croll's defence lawyer, Daniel Legere and Crown prosecutor Rodney Jordan.

Jordan argued that Croll shouldn't receive a unconditional discharge because he wasn't remorseful for what he did and didn't think what he did was unethical. 

Jordan told the court Croll had "no immediate recognition of the inappropriateness of his behaviour."

The prosecutor said he couldn't see how the judge could give an unconditional discharge to someone who continues to deny he did anything wrong.

Jordan requested a small fine or suspended sentence.

But Legere argued in this case, the sentence could be one of a unconditional discharge because there was no sexual component to the voyeurism. 

"In this case we have an individual was intent on dealing with thefts. He didn't do it in the right way," said Legere. 

When asked if he had anything to say, Croll said, "This has been about from the beginning from me, that I had to go down and admit to being voyeur, and I just didn't." 

There were about a dozen people in court with Croll for support. After hearing the sentence, there were hugs and sighs of relief. 

When contacted by CBC by email for a response to the sentencing, Fredericton YMCA chief executive officer Jason Dickson wrote, "With respect to this matter the Y respects the court's decision, with our focus remaining on the safety and well being of our membership." 

With files from Catherine Harrop