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West Van Peeping Tom won't have criminal record for toothbrush charger camera

Female international student discovered hidden camera was secretly recording her nude in bathroom
A Peeping Tom in West Vancouver secretly recorded a female international student with a camera hidden in a toothbrush charger.

A West Vancouver Peeping Tom who hid a camera in an electric toothbrush charger to take secret photos and video of an international exchange student while she was in the bathroom will not have a criminal record.

Judge Joseph Galati ruled it would not be “contrary to the public interest” for the man to avoid a criminal conviction for his actions. Instead, the man in his 40s will receive a conditional discharge and be put on probation for 30 months, including terms of community work service and counselling. During his probation, the married father will also not be allowed to host female students or female guests he isn’t related to in his home.

The West Vancouver man was sentenced last week in North Vancouver provincial court after pleading guilty to a charge of voyeurism. A publication ban prevents the publication of anything that would identify the victim in the case.

Crown counsel Ariana Ward said the illicit filming came to light in the spring of 2022, when a 21-year-old female international student was staying in a room in the man’s family home and sharing a bathroom with his teenaged daughter.

On several occasions, the student noticed that the man was charging his electric toothbrush in her bathroom, which she found odd given that he had his own ensuite bathroom, said Ward.

One day when the family was away, the student went to take a shower and noticed the toothbrush charger was still plugged in. The woman took a closer look at the charger “and noticed there was a small camera lens on it,” said Ward. “It was a camera, and it was recording her, and the images were being save on to an SD card.”

With the help of a friend, the student was able to view what was on the card. “They were video images of her being recorded as she was using the bathroom or taking a shower,” said Ward.

The young woman left the house that night and went to the West Vancouver Police the next day and turned the video card over to them.

Police searched the card and found nine videos that captured the woman in the bathroom either nude or partially dressed.

Also on the card were hundreds of regular family photos of the man and his family as well as still images that captured him as he was setting up the toothbrush charger camera, said Ward.

Police executed a search warrant at the home two days later, where they found the toothbrush charger surveillance device in the garbage can outside.

In January of this year, the man was arrested and released on bail under conditions not to possess any covert video recording equipment.

Ward noted there were no conditions banning other foreign students from renting in his home and “there is currently a student living with him.”

Ward noted the victim was a vulnerable student with no family in the community and the incident occurred in the privacy of her bathroom.

“This was a significant invasion of privacy,” she said. It also required a degree of pre-planning, she said.

A psychiatric report indicated the man feels remorse for his actions. He denies showing the images to anyone else, said Ward.

She added that to ban students from living in the home would also hurt the man’s family financially.

In handing down his sentence, Galati described the man’s offence as “not trivial, but it’s not at the most serious end of the spectrum either.” He said the man’s actions were also out of character.

While on probation, the man must complete 50 hours of community work service in the first year and take counselling. After January, when the current student in his home leaves, he is also banned from hosting further female students and guests for the duration of his probation, although male students will still be allowed.

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