Voyeurism is a sexual offence that carries serious legal penalties in Mississauga and Oakville. A voyeurism charge can also affect other important aspects of your life, such as your employment and relationships.

Donich Law has years of experience defending clients charged with voyeurism across Ontario. Counsel have often negotiated with the Crown to have charges withdrawn or reduced and avoid convictions, criminal records, and registry as a sex offender. We also have experience defending the rights of those facing serious charges backed by irrefutable evidence.

In the 2019 case of R. v. I.B. [2019], Donich Law defended a client accused of secretly filming up a woman’s skirt in a store using his cell phone. Even though law enforcement officials had confiscated the client’s phone, which contained the alleged video, counsel managed to resolve the matter without our client receiving a criminal record.

In R. v. R.J. [2018], Donich Law represented a client charged with voyeurism for allegedly participating in a plan to secretly record women attending a public multi-day event in Toronto. Counsel successfully negotiated with the Crown to have the matter withdrawn.

In 2017, Donich Law secured a client’s release from custody pending trial after the client was charged with making child pornography for allegedly recording his underage relatives in the washroom without their consent.

In the 2015 case of R. v. J.R. [2015], Donich Law defended an individual charged with voyeurism for soliciting nude photos from women by posing as the owner of a Toronto strip club seeking dancers. The firm managed to secure a withdrawal of the charge and the matter was resolved without the client receiving a criminal record.

For more information on how to defend voyeurism charges or how to get voyeurism charges dropped click on these links. Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Voyeurism on the Rise?
What Devices are Commonly Used to Commit Voyeurism?
Can Police Take and Search my Electronic Devices?
How to Beat a Voyeurism Charge?

Additional Resources

Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

Is Voyeurism on the Rise?

Voyeurism is on the rise in Mississauga and Oakville, and across Ontario as populations grow, technology evolves, and people become more comfortable using cameras.

With large glass condominium buildings being built in large cities, it is easier and easier to inadvertently see into hundreds of people’s bedrooms. The desire to have increased security among growing populations can lead people to installing security cameras in places where they may end up violating another individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

If you have been charged with voyeurism, Donich Law can help you resolve your case favourably and ensure your rights are respected throughout the process.

What Devices are Commonly Used to Commit Voyeurism?

Voyeurism can be committed by using the unaided eye, visual aids, or recording devices. Common visual aids include binoculars and telescopes. Recording devices come in all shapes and sizes and range from large security cameras and drones to spy cameras installed in pens, glasses, and tie pins.

The most well-known form of voyeurism occurs when cameras are installed in bathrooms, changerooms, or bedrooms where occupants have some reasonable expectation of privacy. This is the type of voyeurism most often shown in movies and on TV, with spy cameras hidden in plants, plush toys, clocks, picture frames, lights, wall hooks, or fire alarms.

In real life, voyeurism happens more commonly out in public, with individuals using hidden cameras or cameras located on their phones to take pictures of people’s genitals or breasts as they go about their daily lives. In one real life example, a voyeur was using his phone to take pictures up women’s skirts in a retail store. In another, a teacher was using a spy pen to record the breasts of his female students in class.

Can Police Take and Search my Electronic Devices?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Police can seize your electronics upon arrest for voyeurism or with a valid search warrant, but to search through them, they will need more specific prior authorization.

In voyeurism cases, police will look through the accused’s electronics to find voyeuristic recordings that comprise the essential element of the offence. Where police search through your phone, tablet, or computer upon arrest for a voyeurism charge without a warrant permitting them to do so, you will likely be able to raise a section 8 Charter challenge. If successful, this challenge can result in any evidence found being inadmissible at trial. Where the Crown cannot present any voyeuristic recordings found, they may no longer have enough evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and could drop the charges.

How to Beat a Voyeurism Charge?

As voyeurism is both a sexual offence and a privacy offence, it is zealously prosecuted by Crown attorneys in Mississauga and Oakville. Crowns are often unwilling to make plea deals that do not involve a sentence of incarceration and will push for those convicted to serve at least some time in jail. As such, voyeurism can be difficult to defend, and it is important to retain experienced counsel to help you develop a strong defence strategy as soon as possible.

The Criminal Code contains two exceptions to voyeurism that can be used to defend a charge of voyeurism in specific circumstances. First is the public good exception, found at section 162(6), which permits acts of voyeurism where they are done only to serve the public good. Courts have since held that recordings required by or beneficial to religion, art, the administration of justice, the pursuit of science, or of general interest are in the public good. Individuals making recordings for scientific or artistic purposes, for example, might be able to use this rarely employed defence.

Another exception is found in section 162(3) of the Criminal Code and applies where law enforcement officials record someone with a reasonable expectation of privacy who is nude, engaged in sexual acts, or in a location where they are expected to be nude while acting under the authority of a legally issued search warrant. This typically occurs when the police are conducting surveillance on someone they believe has committed a crime or is involved in criminal activity.

The most effective and common defences to voyeurism are those that refute the essential elements of the offence. Individuals charged with voyeurism can argue that the person they were watching was not in a location where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy or where anyone would be expected to be nude; that the recording or observation was not done secretly and that the individual or individuals watched knew they were being watched and consented to it; or that the recording or observation was not done for a sexual purpose.

For example, recording an alleyway behind a store for security purposes would not constitute voyeurism, even if the security cameras happened to catch individuals engaged in sexual activity or exposing their genitals, as this recording is not being done for a sexual purpose and people are not reasonably expected to be nude in this location.

Where the person watching, or the recording device is clearly visible to those who are nude or engaged in sexual activity, the person watching or recording will not be found to have secretly observed these individuals or to have committed voyeurism. Where the person watched is in public and is nude or engaged in sexual activity, they will not be found to have any reasonable expectation of privacy and anyone watching or recording will not have committed voyeurism. Finally, where someone is watching individuals who are nude or engaged in sexual activity for a reason other than sexual gratification, such as for security, medical, or scientific reasons, they will not have committed voyeurism.

If you have been charged with voyeurism in Mississauga and Oakville, counsel at Donich Law can help by assessing your charges and developing a tailored defence strategy for you.  Donich Law has successfully defended individuals from all walks of life charged with voyeurism offences and has even helped clients avoid conviction and a criminal record.

Quick Facts

What is Voyeurism?

A person commits the offence of voyeurism when they secretly watch or record someone who is somewhere they have a reasonable expectation of privacy and is expected to be nude, is nude, is engaged in explicit sexual activity, or is being watched for the watcher’s sexual gratification.

Will I Have to go to Jail for Voyeurism?

Voyeurism carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, meaning individuals convicted of voyeurism may have to go to jail for up to five years. However, sentences are always individualized and determined based on the facts of the case, the circumstances of the accused, and other aggravating and mitigating factors. An accused convicted of voyeurism could face alternative sentences of probation, community service, and/or a fine instead of or in addition to incarceration.

What if I did not Record What I Saw?

Even if you did not make a recording, you may still have committed voyeurism if you secretly observed someone who is somewhere they have a reasonable expectation of privacy or are exposed or engaging in sexual activity.

What if I did not Catch Anyone Nude Where I Recorded?

Where you secretly recorded another person in a place where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, you will still have committed voyeurism even if the individual was not nude or engaging in sexual activity at the time they were recorded.

What if the Person Wanted me to Watch or Record?

Consent to be watched or recorded is one possible defence to voyeurism, as in this case the observation or recording would not be done secretly, and this element of the offence would not be met. To argue consent, you would need to prove that the complainant provided clear and ongoing consent to be recorded or observed.

What are Exceptions to Voyeurism?

There are two exceptions to voyeurism. The first exception involves situations where the voyeuristic act is done to serve the public good. The second exception involves observations and recordings, carried out by law enforcement, where the observation or recording has been judicially sanctioned through the issuance of a warrant.

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