Nova Scotia

Halifax police officer who peeped into motel rooms found guilty of voyeurism

George Farmer was found guilty of voyeurism, trespassing at night and breach of trust for peeping into the windows of a Bedford, N.S., motel in December 2017.

George Farmer's lawyer argued he was doing it to 'serve the public good'

Cst. George Farmer, shown in Halifax provincial court on Jan. 18, has been found guilty of voyeurism, trespassing at night and breach of trust in connection with his actions around Bedford, N.S., motel. (CBC)

A Halifax Regional Police constable was found guilty Friday of voyeurism, trespassing at night and breach of trust for peeping into the windows of a Bedford, N.S., motel in November and December 2017.

In an agreed statement of facts, George Farmer, 44, admitted to looking into the windows at the Esquire Motel, but his lawyer argued he was doing police work to "serve the public good." He claimed to be investigating possible drug activity and prostitution.

Serving the public good is considered a defence under the Criminal Code.

Judge Chris Manning said he found it "highly relevant" that Farmer didn't advise police dispatch about his activity.

Farmer, an 11-year veteran of the force, testified he didn't have a good reason for why he didn't do that, saying he was "lazy."

The judge also said he had difficulty understanding why Farmer unscrewed light bulbs that lit up the back of the hotel, and left them off. The judge said those actions put guests at risk.

Farmer will be sentenced April 12.

How Farmer was caught

Farmer admitted to lurking around the Esquire motel on Dec. 1 and 2, 2017, when he watched a married couple in one room, a man in another and in a third room, a woman who had a visit from a man she met on a dating site.

Farmer was caught on video after police, concerned about his unexplained absences from his police cruiser, hatched a plan involving an undercover RCMP officer posing as a guest and a secret camera to record his activities.

When Farmer was caught, he ran away from police into the woods. Farmer said his reason for doing so was because he needed to urinate.

"The explanation makes no sense," said the judge.

Defence weighing options

Farmer did not comment as he left court Friday.

His lawyer, Joel Pink, could not say if the defence will appeal the verdict.

"We will study the decision of Judge Manning and we'll decide where we go from here, if we go anywhere," he said.

"Time will tell."

Farmer is currently suspended from the department with pay.

After the charges were laid, the officer was suspended without pay but he was successful in grieving that decision and his pay was reinstated.