Toronto Voyeurism Lawyers

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There’s no doubt that technological growth within the last few decades has enhanced our lives as a society. But, with every advancement, there are always certain challenges.

As phones, cameras, and other recording and photography devices become more advanced, people are becoming more concerned about their privacy, including the safety of their data and private lives. In this article, which is meant for informational purposes, we’ll look into voyeurism, a relatively new charge arising from the abuse of advanced technologies.

What is Voyeurism?

Voyeurism is a relatively new criminal charge under the Criminal Code of Canada. It was introduced in 2005 by Parliament as a response to the increasing misuse of technological advancements, especially phones, to infringe on peoples’ privacy for a sexual purpose.

To understand the criminal offence, let’s take a look at the relevant provisions in section 162 (1) of 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
  • the person is in a place in which a person can reasonably be expected to be nude, to expose their genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or to be engaged in explicit sexual activity;
  • the person is nude, exposing their genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or is engaged in explicit sexual activity, and the recording is done for the purpose of observing or recording a person in such a state or engaged in such an activity; or
  • the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose.

As per the Criminal Code, the offence revolves around surreptitious observation, recording, or taking pictures of individuals in a setting that they expect a reasonable level of privacy for a sexual purpose. For example, persons using public washrooms, changing rooms, bathrooms, hotel rooms, and those in their own homes expect privacy.

As a new criminal offence, certain sections of the offence are still unsettled, particularly the “in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy” part of the law. As such, persons may face charges that don’t constitute voyeurism. For example, if a person undresses on a public beach and you take a photo, does this constitute voyeurism? Do the circumstances (a beach) necessitate a reasonable expectation of privacy?

If you’re charged with voyeurism, do not hesitate to retain an expert criminal defence lawyer. They’ll guide you through this complex part of criminal law, protect your rights, and devise a solid defence to fight your charges.

Mischief and Voyeurism Related Sexual Criminal Charges

Before the introduction of voyeurism charges, police used to charge persons found watching other people in settings that necessitate privacy, such as people having sex or undressing, with mischief charges. After the charges were codified into the Criminal Code, the police now, in most cases, charge accused persons with voyeurism and mischief.

The reason for charging alleged perpetrators with the two charges is to ensure that the prosecutor has one hand to play in case one fails. In some cases, it’s hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt one or all of the most critical elements of voyeurism, i.e., that the act was for a “sexual purpose” and the complainant had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in the given situation. When the prosecution cannot prove voyeurism, they fall back to mischief charges, which are easier to prove for incidents in a public setting.

If you are facing voyeurism and mischief charges, protect your rights and future by retaining a skilled Toronto criminal defence lawyer. Get your free consultation today!

Cell Phone Mischief and Voyeurism Charges

Over the years, phones have advanced from simple call and text only devices to some of the most used, portable and sophisticated devices containing high-tech cameras and easy-to-use photography apps. As such, most voyeurism and mischief allegations now involve smartphones, and the numbers are constantly increasing. All it takes is for someone on the beach, TTC or any other place to think that you’re pointing your phone camera in their direction, and you could be facing criminal charges.

Cell phone voyeurism and mischief charges have severe consequences and can ruin your reputation. An experienced Toronto voyeurism lawyer can protect your rights and fight for a favourable outcome in your case.

Contact us today to speak to one of our attorneys.

Penalties for Voyeurism Charges in Toronto

Voyeurism is a hybrid offence. Therefore, the possible penalties depend on whether the prosecution proceeds summarily or by indictment.

For indictable offences, the maximum sentence as set out by the Criminal Code is five years incarceration. For summary offences, the maximum penalty is two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

The actual sentence issued upon conviction varies per the case’s particulars, including any aggravating and mitigating factors.

Apart from the penalties that you may face upon conviction, a voyeurism conviction gravely affects the rest of your future, including your employment, travel, and social life.

Contact Experienced Toronto Voyeurism Lawyers

When charged with voyeurism, no matter the evidence against you, it’s in your best interest to seek legal advice. At Zamani Law, we provide experienced legal representation and explore all possible avenues to ensure a favourable outcome per your case details. We fight to protect you from harsh consequences and, where possible, avoid a criminal record.

Don’t take chances!  Call us at (647) 697-6954  to schedule your consultation.

FAQ

Is voyeurism a crime in Canada?

As per section 162(1) of the Criminal Code, voyeurism is a criminal offence. One can face such charges if they observe, record, or photograph another person in a situation that gives rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Such settings include public changing rooms, homes, public washrooms, public transit and more.

What is consensual voyeurism?

With all the involved participants’ consent, voyeurism can be a consensual sexual experience. Consensual voyeurism involves watching someone else involved in a sexual situation for a sexual purpose. This can be at home with your partner, sex clubs, nude beaches, or online, where voyeurs-at-heart satisfy their sexual pleasures legally.

Watching or recording people in a private setting without their knowledge amounts to non-consensual voyeurism, which is a criminal act. For example, secretly watching a person undress or engage in sexual activity in their home is illegal.

Will I Get a criminal record for voyeurism?

When facing a voyeurism charge, the Crown will be pushing to have you convicted for a summary or indictable offence. If the prosecution proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt, you’ll be convicted and end up with a criminal record. However, with a lawyer by your side and depending on the case against you, other resolutions that prevent a criminal record can be reached.

What is the most common type of voyeurism?

The most common voyeurism in Toronto occurs in public settings, such as public transit (buses and subway) and crowded areas. Other forms of voyeurism involve setting up cameras and peepholes in hotels and washrooms.

How do people commit voyeurism?

Voyeurism has become easier to commit in the modern world due to various technological advances, such as smartphones and video recording devices. These devices have powerful cameras, which are being misused to commit such and related crimes.

What are the best defences to voyeurism charges in Toronto?

The best defence for a voyeurism charge is to refute one or more of the vital elements of the offence. For example, if you’re charged with taking photographs of women in bikinis while focusing on specific parts of their bodies, you can argue that the photos were not for a sexual purpose. Another example is if you’re charged with voyeurism for recording people having sex behind in an alley. In such a case, you can argue that an alley is not a place where a person could reasonably be expected to be engaged in sexual activity.

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