Affordable Ottawa Voyeurism Defence Lawyers

Ottawa Voyeurism Criminal Lawyers

Voyeurism is a criminal offence that has become a higher profile concern in recent years because of technological advances.

Nowadays, it is easier than ever to record another person without their knowledge. Most people have smartphones or other recording devices that allow them to do this.

However, secretly observing or recording someone and invading their privacy in this manner is a crime that may end up in a prison sentence.

Even if you are accused of voyeurism and never convicted, the consequences to your reputation, relationships. And even your employment can be far-reaching and very damaging.

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Powerful Defence for Voyeurism Offences in Ottawa

A conviction may be life-changing.

You are innocent until proven guilty and deserve a defence of your Charter rights, even if the evidence against you is significant.

We will help you prepare your defence with:

  • A thorough examination of the details of your case
  • Close inspection of the evidence for possible flaws or irregularities
  • If necessary, representing you at trial

What is Voyeurism?

According to the Criminal Code:

“Everyone commits an offence who, surreptitiously, observes — including by mechanical or electronic means — or makes a visual recording of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy, if

(a) the person is in a place in which a person can reasonably be expected to be nude, to expose his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or to be engaged in explicit sexual activity;

(b) the person is nude, is exposing his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or is engaged in explicit sexual activity, and the observation or recording is done for the purpose of observing or recording a person in such a state or engaged in such an activity; or

(c) the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose.”

So, if you are caught secretly filming another person without their knowledge, in a place where they can expect privacy, and it’s done for sexual purposes, you may be charged with voyeurism.

Note that voyeurism always involves observing someone where he or she could be seen naked or engaging in sexual activity.

Voyeurism as a Privacy Breach

In Ontario, certain spaces like bathrooms, bedrooms, and changing rooms are deemed to offer individuals a reasonable expectation of privacy. Secretly observing or recording people in such areas can be considered voyeurism under Section 162(1) if certain conditions are met—such as nudity, sexual activity, or a sexual motive. The Jarvis ruling broadened the notion of privacy to encompass freedom from unwanted attention or intrusion.

Voyeurism as a Sexual Offence

The 2019 SCC 10 ruling in R. v. Jarvis addressed the reasonable expectation of privacy within the voyeurism law, considering its context-dependency. While the lower court established the teacher’s recordings were sexually motivated, the high court justices emphasized the connection between privacy, personal autonomy, and sexual integrity. They underscored that while individuals may expect certain observations or recordings, they shouldn’t anticipate others, reinforcing the importance of safeguarding personal boundaries.

Justices outlined nine contextual factors to determine the existence of a reasonable expectation of privacy, including:

  • Location of the person when observed or recorded.
  • Nature of impugned conduct (whether observation or recording, with recording deemed more intrusive).
  • Awareness of or consent to potential observation or recording.
  • How the observation or recording was conducted.
  • Subject matter or content that was observed or recorded.
  • Any rules, regulations, or policies that may have governed observation or recording.
  • Relationship between the parties.
  • The purpose for which the observation or recording was done.
  • Personal attributes of the person who was observed or recorded.

Examples of voyeurism charges in Ottawa

Voyeurism Sexual Assault Affordable Defence in OttawaVoyeurism charges have become more common in recent years for reasons already mentioned.

Some people who are guilty of voyeurism are unaware that they are committing a crime, or they may be filming for innocent purposes but their actions may be construed differently.

Therefore, despite the technology apparently making it easier to prove the crime of voyeurism (filming rather than simply observing and being caught “in the act” like a Pepping Tom), cases can still be complex.

Some relatively common examples where voyeurism charges are filed against a person include:

  • A person secretly filming a next-door neighbour in the shower
  • Photographing a housemate or roommate in their bedroom
  • Making a peephole to observe someone getting changed in their bedroom
  • Using a hidden camera in the Ladies’ area of public bathrooms

What are the penalties for voyeurism in Ottawa?

In addition to the potential damage to your reputation and to relationships, a conviction for voyeurism may result in:

  • A prison sentence of up to five years (in the case of an indictment)
  • A prison sentence up to six months (in a summary prosecution)
  • Probation for up to three years
  • A fine of up to $5,000

It is treated as a “hybrid” offence, which means that it can proceed as a summary charge or an indictable charge.

Aggravating factors like the age of the alleged victim or abusing a position of trust will also be considered when prosecuting and sentencing.

Voyeurism Charges: How we will defend you

The serious consequences of a conviction for voyeurism, as with any sex crime, make it imperative that you seek high-quality legal representation as soon as possible after your arrest.

There are many avenues we can explore as your lawyers in order to mitigate the effects on your future or to push for case dismissal.

Sometimes, honest mistakes are made, which you can learn from rather than having to face a criminal trial.

Other times we can look at:

  • Weaknesses in the technical and circumstantial evidence against you from the Crown
  • Whether your Charter rights were respected during the arrest, search, and charging process
  • Whether the purpose of making the recording (if applicable) was sexual
  • Whether the Crown can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty

Your defence will depend on the specific circumstances of the alleged crime and what you can demonstrate about your personal qualities.

We have vast experience in defending sex crimes and our technical knowledge will also help prepare your best defence.

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