FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND VOYEURISM CHARGES IN GUELPH. 1-866-DEFENCE.
Being charged with a criminal offence can be a scary and confusing experience. This is especially true for those who are being charged for the first time. Donich Law has experience defending an array of individuals charged with voyeurism in various jurisdictions throughout Ontario. Those who are convicted of voyeurism may face serious penalties.
Our Firm has defended individuals who have been wrongfully accused of voyeurism and other sexual offences. We regularly negotiate with Crown counsel to have charges reduced or withdrawn where possible, in many cases resolving our client’s matters without a criminal record. We also have experience defending individuals charged with more serious voyeurism offences including cases where there is irrefutable evidence incriminating the accused. We vigorously advocate for our client’s rights to ensure they receive the best outcome possible based on their particular set of circumstances.
In R. v. I.B. , the Firm defended an individual accused of using his smartphone to surreptitiously film up the skirt of a woman inside a store. Law enforcement confiscated the accused’s smartphone during his arrest, which contained the alleged video. After some negotiations with the Crown the Firm was able to resolve the matter without a criminal record for the client.
In R v. R.J. , the Firm defended an individual charged with voyeurism after allegedly participating in a scheme to surreptitiously record women over several days at a public event in Toronto. After some negotiations, the matter was withdrawn at the request of the Crown.
In 2017, the Firm secured the judicial interim release of an individual charged with making child pornography. The client was accused of recording minor family members inside the restroom without their permission. In R. v. J.R. , the Firm defended an individual charged with voyeurism after allegedly soliciting nude photos from women after posing as a Toronto nightclub owner. After litigating the matter, the Firm was able to secure the withdrawal of the charge, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the client.
If you have been charged with voyeurism in Guelph, it is important to contact experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. It is important to develop a strategy to defend the allegations to ensure the best possible outcome. Experienced legal counsel can assist you in developing the right defence for your set of allegations and can negotiate with the Crown to have the charge reduced or withdrawn where appropriate.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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Elements of a Crime
What is Voyeurism?
As outlined in section 162(1) of the Criminal Code, an individual is guilty of voyeurism when they surreptitiously observe or record another individual;
- In circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy; or
- Where the person being observed is engaging in sexual activity if they were in a place where they can reasonably be expected to be naked or exposing their breasts anal region or genitals or be engaging in sexual activity; or
- If the individual is naked or exposing their breasts, anal region or genitals or is engaging in sexual activity if the observation or recording is done for the purpose of observing or recording the person in that state, or
- If the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose.
In Guelph, individuals are commonly charged with voyeurism for surreptitiously recording up the dress or skirt of strangers in public. Another common example is an individual recording or observing a stranger inside a bathroom or change room without their knowledge.
What is Trespass at Night?
Section 177 of the Criminal Code outlines the offence of trespass at night. It states that an individual has committed the offence when they, without lawful excuse, prowl or loiter on the property belonging to another individual near a dwelling house situated on that property, at night.
In some cases, a trespass at night charge will be laid with a voyeurism charge. For example, if an individual was found to have been surreptitiously recording or observing another individual at night, while on the individual’s property, they will likely be charged with this offence. This is commonly referred to as the “peeping tom” scenario.
The offence of trespass at night is a summary conviction offence. The maximum penalty an offender may face if they are convicted is two years less a day in prison, up to a $5,000 fine or both. Generally, those convicted of trespass at night will not be sentenced to a period of incarceration unless they have a criminal history or there were aggravating factors in the case.
How to Beat a Voyeurism Charge in Guelph?
Voyeurism is considered a sexual offence as well as a privacy offence. In Guelph and across Ontario, those who are convicted of sexually based offences face serious criminal sanctions as well as negative impacts on other aspects of their lives. As a result, it is important to have experienced counsel on your side. In Guelph, arguments commonly used to defend a charge of voyeurism include arguing that the complainant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the location they were in or arguing that the recording or observation was not done for a sexual purpose.
For the Crown to gain a voyeurism conviction, they must prove that the complainant was in a location where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy when the accused was observing or recording them. If there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the location, the accused cannot be found guilty. Generally, if a person is inside their home, or any other place that they can reasonably be expected to be engaging in sexual activity, or exposing their breasts, genitals or anal region, they will have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If, however, a complainant was to engage in sexual activity or expose themselves in a public place, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy. If an individual were to observe or record a person in such a state in public, they would not be guilty of any offence.
A similar case was decided by an Ontario judge in 2019. In that case, a man was charged with voyeurism after taking photos of a nude woman on a nude beach in Toronto. The accused made no attempt to hide his actions and the woman had voluntarily disrobed. The judge reasoned that the accused could not be found guilty of the offence because the woman had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the location she was in. She had voluntarily attended the nude beach and taken her clothing off, knowing others in the vicinity could see her. Further, the Court reasoned, the accused made no attempt to hide the fact that he was taking photos. As a result, the elements of the offence had not been proven, and the accused could not be convicted.
In other cases, an accused may argue that they did not have a sexual purpose for making the observation or recording. If an accused can prove that they were observing or recording another person for a legitimate reason, they will not be convicted of voyeurism.
If you have been charged with voyeurism in Guelph it is important to contact qualified legal counsel immediately. Donich Law can assist you in developing the best strategy to defend your case.
What are Common Penalties for those Convicted of Voyeurism in Guelph?
Voyeurism offences tend to be prosecuted vigorously by Crown’s in Guelph and across Ontario. This is due to the sexual nature of the offence. In some cases, those convicted will be sentenced to a period of incarceration and be required to register as a sex offender. In other cases, those convicted will be sentenced to a period of probation, fines or community service. In the most minor cases, it may be possible to have the charges withdrawn, or receive an absolute or conditional discharge.
Voyeurism is a hybrid offence. This allows the Crown to elect to proceed summarily or by indictment, depending on the severity of the allegations. In cases where the Crown elects to proceed summarily, the accused will face a maximum of up to a $5,000 fine, two years less a day in jail or both. If the Crown elects to proceed by indictment, the accused will face a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.
The sentence given to an offender will depend on a number of factors including the accused’s criminal history, their personal characteristics, the nature and severity of the allegations against them and any other aggravating or mitigating factors in the case. Where a case involves minor allegations and the accused has no criminal history, it is possible that they will receive a sentence on the lower end of the sentencing spectrum. If, however, an offender has a criminal history and the allegations against them are serious, they will likely receive a sentence on the higher end of the sentencing spectrum, which may include a period of incarceration.
Is Voyeurism Considered a Sexual Offence?
Yes. The offence of voyeurism is outlined in part V of the Criminal Code, which is the section containing all sexual offences. In addition to being a sexual offence, voyeurism is also a privacy offence.
In some cases, those who are convicted of voyeurism will be issued a SOIRA order and required to register as a sex offender. The Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) is the federal legislation that requires certain sexual offenders to register for a period of ten years, twenty-five years or life. The Criminal Code provides a list of designated sexual offences. If an individual commits such an offence, they will be issued a mandatory SOIRA order by the Court upon being sentenced. A SOIRA order is an order by the Court requiring the offender to register as a sex offender.
While voyeurism is not a designated sexual offence, those convicted may nonetheless be issued a SOIRA order. Upon sentencing for a voyeurism conviction, the Crown may provide submissions to the Court recommending that a SOIRA order be issued. If the Court is in agreement that the accused committed a sexual offence, they will issue a SOIRA order to the accused.
What is Voyeurism?
The offence of voyeurism has been committed when an individual surreptitiously observes or records another person who is in a location that gives rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy, where the individual is engaging in sexual activity or could be expected to be engaging in sexual activity, where the person is nude or can be expected to be nude, or where the recording or observation was done for a sexual purpose.
Is Voyeurism a Sex Offence?
Yes. Voyeurism is a sex offence as well as a privacy offence. In some cases, those convicted of voyeurism will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA).
Will I be Registered as a Sex Offender if I’m Convicted of Voyeurism?
In some cases, yes. The Criminal Code states that those convicted of designated sexual offences will be required to register as a sex offender on a mandatory basis. While voyeurism is not a designated sexual offence, an individual convicted may still be required to register as a sex offender.
What are the Maximum Penalties for Voyeurism?
Voyeurism is a hybrid offence, meaning the maximum penalty that may be imposed if the accused is convicted will depend on whether the Crown elects to proceed by indictment or summarily. If the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face a maximum of five years in prison. If the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day, a $5,000 fine or both.
Can I get a Discharge for Voyeurism?
In some cases, yes. Whether a Crown will agree to a discharge for a voyeurism offence will depend on a number of factors. The nature and severity of the allegations, the accused’s criminal record and any other mitigating or aggravating factors will be considered in determining whether a discharge is appropriate.
Will a Voyeurism Conviction Affect my Ability to Travel?
Yes. Being convicted of any crime in Canada can make traveling outside of Canada more difficult. This is especially true for those who have a criminal conviction for a sexual offence. Many countries throughout the world, particularly the United States, reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offence.
What is Trespass at Night?
An individual has committed the offence of trespass at night when they, without lawful excuse, prowls or loiters on the property of another individual, near a dwelling house situated on that property, at night.