A man who photographed another man showering in a marina washroom has been found guilty of voyeurism.
The 21-year old* said he took the photos of the naked man because he thought that he was a blind date whom he had arranged to meet for the first time via the gay dating app Grindr.
But it turned out the showering man was not the date he was apparently meeting, and the victim called the Police after seeing a hand holding a mobile phone appear twice over the top of his cubicle.
In a trial in the Magistrate’s Court, Legal Adviser Lauren Hallam said that the defendant, who was 20 at the time, had gone to the Elizabeth Marina on 11 September last year after receiving a message via Grindr, which suggesting meeting in or around the shower block.
The defendant went to the marina and entered the block to first freshen up himself, and then look for the other man.
The Court was read a statement from the victim, which said: “I entered the marina facility as I am a paid member and saw the defendant having a shave.
“I got undressed in the cubicle and began to shower. After about three minutes, I saw a phone being held over the divider, which then disappeared. A minute later, it appeared again then disappeared.
“I saw a pair of feet in smart dress shoes under the divider. I grabbed my towel and could see a figure staring back at me through the gap alongside the door. By the time I was changed and ready to leave, the man had gone.”
Advocate James Bell was defending the man in a Magistrate's Court trial on Thursday.
Taking the stand, the defendant told his Advocate, James Bell, that he had photographed the man to try and identify him by comparing the photo with his Grindr profile picture, as he was too shy and embarrassed to call out his name in front of other people in the washroom at the time.
The man said: “I was nervous; I didn’t want to shout over so I decided to use my mobile phone to look over to see if it was the individual. I did this once then the lens on the camera steamed up so I wiped my phone and tried a second time.
“I still couldn’t be sure but I was almost convinced that it wasn’t the individual. I heard him getting ready to leave so I looked through the gap in the door to check it wasn't the person I was due to meet.”
Ms Hallam, however, argued that the man's account was unconvincing and contradictory.
Pictured: The man was due to meet a man, whom he had corresponded with on the gay dating app Grindr, at the Elizabeth Marina.
“The defendant admits that he filmed a naked stranger without their consent, which in itself was a huge violation of privacy and an extraordinary thing to do,” she said.
“In trying to explain his actions, he said he did not wait for the man to exit the shower cubicle to check his identity because he was too impatient.
“That is a ridiculous excuse and the only reason he took the extraordinary risk was the hope to get something in return, which was sexual gratification.”
In defence, Advocate Bell said: “The defendant was too shy to shout out in front of other men in the marina washroom. He was due to meet someone whom he had never met and had only messaged on Grindr - what could he have possibly said?
“He used his phone to see if the man on the other side was the person he was intending to meet and not for sexual gratification, which is clear because he deleted the photos immediately afterwards.
“He is not on trial for being selfish, impatient, or taking a risk. That is not the ingredient of this charge, and the prosecution have failed to prove beyond doubt that he took the photos for his own sexual gratification.”
However, after a morning of hearing evidence and legal argument, Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris judged that the man was guilty of one charge of voyeurism, which comes under the Island’s Sexual Offences Law.
The man was granted bail until he is sentenced next month.
*Anonymised for specific mental health reasons.
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