28 October 2021

Woman 'humiliated' by cybersecurity expert who used spycam to film her

| Albert McKnight
Man leaving court

The man, who filmed his friend with a hidden camera, leaving the Canberra courts earlier this year. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A woman who discovered she had been spied on for months by a cybersecurity expert, who was also her friend and housemate, by using a camera hidden in her room had one word that summed up how she felt: humiliated.

On Wednesday (27 October), the ACT Magistrates Court heard the man will spend Christmas Day in jail after he was sentenced for filming the woman sleeping in her bed, while she was naked and when she was in her bathroom over parts of 2020.

He used a hidden camera in her wardrobe, which he repositioned a few times, captured himself doing so, and secretly filmed her on his mobile phone. Police found he took 842 photos and videos of her.

“I feel humiliated and disgust when I think of you looking at me in my most private moments,” the man’s victim told him in court.

“I feel disgust when I think about you silently entering my room when I was asleep.

“Being on edge all the time is entirely exhausting. This isn’t how I should live my life, but you have made this the reality of my day to day.”

She said he had made her question every single relationship she had in her life.

“I hate that you took advantage of me, and for a large part of our friendship, I was unaware that you were violating my safety,” she said.

Prosecutor Ryan Roberts said the man had taken the footage for his own sexual gratification. His crimes involved planning and the fact he had moved the camera in the wardrobe into different positions from time to time showed an ongoing commitment to film the woman when she was getting changed.

Tom Taylor of Hugo Law Group said his client had been a cybersecurity professional but had lost his job due to his crimes.

His security clearance has been cancelled and his employment prospects were grim.

Mr Taylor said his client’s depression and anxiety contributed to his crimes. He had conditions that made him hypersensitive to rejection and he also had a history of being rejected.

He said the man found himself living with and being attracted to the woman without saying anything about his feelings. His “hopelessness” led to depression and he fell into a perpetual cycle.

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Magistrate Glenn Theakston found what the man had done to be “particularly distasteful”.

While the man had been “upfront” about his offending, he was concerned the man appeared to have felt compelled to film the woman. A “loop of anxiety” would build up that would only be released when he offended.

The man pleaded guilty to two charges of making intimate observations or capturing visual data.

He was sentenced to four months’ jail for each charge, suspended after two months had been served.

He was taken into custody but will be released on 26 December. He has not been named to prevent identifying the victim.

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