FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND VOYEURISM CHARGES IN OTTAWA.  1-866-DEFENCE.

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Ottawa it is important to protect your rights. The most effective way to do this is to hire experienced legal counsel. If you have been charged with voyeurism in Ottawa, Donich Law can help protect your rights throughout the Court process.

Donich Law has experience defending individuals charged with voyeurism and other sexual offences across Southern Ontario. We have experience negotiating for favourable deals where appropriate and litigating when necessary. We regularly obtain positive results for our clients, in some cases resolving our client’s cases without a criminal record.

In 2019, Donich Law represented an individual charged with voyeurism after allegedly using his smartphone to record up the dress of a stranger in R. v. I.B. [2019]. The accused’s phone was seized by police when he was taken into custody and the video evidence used against him in Court. The Firm negotiated with the Crown to have the charge withdrawn.

In 2018, the Donich Law represented an individual charged with voyeurism after he was alleged to have participated in a sophisticated scheme to surreptitiously record women at a large, multiday public event in Toronto in R. v. R.J. [2018]. The Firm negotiated with the Crown to have the charges withdrawn.

In 2017, the Firm successfully argued for the judicial interim release of an individual charged with making child pornography. The accused was alleged to have recorded young family members in the restroom without their knowledge. In 2015, the Firm represented an individual charged with voyeurism after allegedly soliciting nude photos from women in R. v. J.R. [2015]. After some negotiations the Crown agreed to withdrawal the charge, resolving the matter without a criminal record.

If you have been charged with voyeurism in Ottawa it is important to have experienced legal counsel on your side. Donich Law will fight for your rights throughout the legal process to ensure the best outcome.

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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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Voyeurism?
What is Trespass at Night?
What are the Best Defences to Voyeurism in Ottawa?
What are the Maximum Penalties for Voyeurism in Ottawa?
Will I be a Sex Offender if I am Convicted of Voyeurism in Ottawa?

Additional Resources

Assault
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

What is Voyeurism?

The offence of voyeurism is outlined in section 162(1) of the Criminal Code. The Code states that an individual is guilty of voyeurism when they surreptitiously observe or record another individual in circumstances that would give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy if one of the following circumstances exists:

  • In situations where the person being observed is in a place where they can reasonably be expected to be nude, exposing their breasts, genitals or anus or be engaging in sexual activity.
  • In situations where the person being observed or recorded is nude, exposing their genitals, anus or breasts or engaging in sexual activity, and the observation is done for the purpose of observing or recording a person in such a state or engaged in such an activity.
  • In situations where the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose.

In Ottawa and all over Ontario it is common for individuals to be charged with voyeurism for secretly recording individuals in restrooms or changerooms. Another common example is individuals who use their smartphones to record up the skirt or dress of strangers in public.

What is Trespass at Night?

The offence of trespass at night is outlined in section 177 of the Criminal Code. The Code states that an individual is guilty of a criminal offence when they, without lawful reason, loiter or prowl on the property that does not belong to them, near a dwelling house on that property, at night.

Trespass at night charges are sometimes laid with voyeurism charges. This may be true in a “peeping tom” scenario where an individual is watching or recording a stranger inside their home at night.

Trespass at night is a straight summary conviction offence. The maximum penalty for those who are convicted is two years less a day in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine. In the majority of cases, those who are convicted of this offence will be sentenced to a period of probation, fines and/or community service.

What are the Best Defences to Voyeurism in Ottawa?

Voyeurism is considered both a sexual offence and a privacy offence in Canada. Due to the serious criminal sanctions that may result from a conviction, it is important to have experienced legal counsel to assist in developing a defence for your case. Defences commonly used in voyeurism cases in Ottawa include; arguing that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy or arguing that the observation or recording was not done for a sexual purpose. If the defence can successfully put forth either of these defences the accused cannot be convicted.

To gain a voyeurism conviction at trial, the Crown must prove that the complainant was in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the accused can prove that the circumstances did not give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy they will not be convicted. If the complainant was inside their home or in any other place where they could reasonably be expected to be nude, exposing their sexual organs, anus or breasts, or engaging in sexual activity, a reasonable expectation of privacy will exist. If, however, the complainant was in a public place when they were observed or recorded by the accused, they would likely not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. As a result, the location of the complainant when the observation or recording was made is very important.

This point was illustrated by an Ontario judge in a 2019 case involving a man charged with voyeurism for recording a nude woman on a nude beach in Toronto. The woman had voluntarily disrobed on the beach, knowing other people in the area could see her. Further, the accused made no attempt to hide the fact that he was recording. The judge reasoned that the man was not guilty of voyeurism because the recording was not done surreptitiously, and the woman had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the location she was in. She was aware people in the area could observe her when she voluntarily took her clothing off.

Another defence to a voyeurism charge is arguing that the accused did not have a sexual purpose for the observation or recording. This defence may be used when the accused is charged under section 162(1)(c) of the Criminal Code. This would require the Crown present evidence to the Court that proves that the observation or recording was for a sexual purpose. If the accused can present evidence that challenges the evidence presented by the Crown, they may beat the voyeurism charge.

Developing the correct strategy for your particular set of allegations is important. Donich Law can assist you in developing a unique defence to ensure you receive the best outcome in your case.

What are the Maximum Penalties for Voyeurism in Ottawa?

Those who are convicted of voyeurism may face serious criminal sanctions. Due to the sexual nature of voyeurism offences, Crown counsel often prosecute such offences aggressively.

Sentences may differ significantly from one offender to the next depending on the nature of the accused’s alleged actions. In the most minor cases, those who are charged may receive a discharge or suspended sentence. In minor cases where the accused is convicted, they may be sentenced to a period of probation, fines and/or community service.

In more serious cases, an accused may be sentenced to a period of incarceration. Voyeurism is a hybrid offence which allows the Crown to elect to proceed summarily or by indictment, depending on the nature and severity of the allegations. Where the Crown elects to proceed summarily the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face a maximum of five years in prison.

Will I be a Sex Offender if I am Convicted of Voyeurism in Ottawa?

In some cases, yes. The Criminal Code states that when an individual is found guilty of certain sexual offences, they must register as a sex offender. With some offences, registration is mandatory and with other offences it is up to the Crown to make submissions to the Court regarding why the accused should be forced to register.

Voyeurism is the latter type of offence. Those who are convicted may be required to register as a sex offender. If the Crown feels as though it is necessary for the accused to register, they may make submissions to the Court during sentencing. If the Court agrees with the Crown’s submissions, they will issue a SOIRA order. A SOIRA order requires the offender to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act for ten years, twenty years or life.

Quick Facts

What is Voyeurism?

As outlined in the Criminal Code, an individual is guilty of voyeurism when they surreptitiously observe or record another person who is in a location where they would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, where the individual is, or could reasonably be expected to be, nude, exposing their genitals, breasts or anus or is engaging in sexual activity, or where the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose.

What is Trespass at Night?

As outlined in the Criminal Code, an individual is guilty of trespass at night when they, without lawful excuse, loiter or prowl on the property of another person, close to a dwelling house that is situated on that property, at night.

Will I go to Jail for Voyeurism?

In some cases, yes. Upon conviction for voyeurism, the Court will determine the most appropriate sentence for the offender based on the particulars of the case. The Court will consider the accused’s criminal history, the nature and severity of the allegations and any other aggravating or mitigating factors.

Will I be a Sex Offender if I am Convicted of Voyeurism?

In some cases, yes. Voyeurism is not a designated sexual offence. This means that the Court is not required to issue a SOIRA order to those who are convicted. Instead, the Crown may make submissions upon sentencing requesting the Court issue a SOIRA order if they deem it necessary.

What if I am a First-Time Offender Charged with Voyeurism?

If you are a first-time offender who has been charged with voyeurism is it important to hire experienced legal counsel to advocate for you and protect your rights. Generally, those convicted of more minor voyeurism offences will be sentenced to probation, fines or community service.

Can I get a Voyeurism Charge Dropped?

Whether or not an accused can have their voyeurism charge dropped will depend on many different factors including the criminal history of the accused and the nature and severity of the allegations against the accused. Another important factor is the amount of evidence in the possession of the Crown. If the Crown does not have enough evidence to make their case they will likely agree to drop the charges.

What is a SOIRA Order?

A SOIRA order is an order issued by the Court requiring an accused to register as a sex offender. The Criminal Code states that an individual who commits certain sexual offences will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA).

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