2012 ABCA 14

2012 ABCA 14 involved a community youth worker who allowed teenagers to use his apartment’s spare bedroom as a place to drink and have sex. Mr. K let three young men use his video camera to film their (consensual) sexual encounters with young women and girls.[1] The young men then sold the footage to K without the girls’ knowledge or consent.[2] At trial, K was found guilty of two charges of possession of child pornography, one charge of engaging in voyeurism, and one charge of making voyeuristic materials. Although the Crown recommended a global 15-18 months imprisonment sentence, the trial judge sentenced K to a 27-months imprisonment. The Alberta Court of Appeal found that this was not an unfit sentence, and dismissed K’s sentencing appeal.

[1] Interestingly, the Court finds that the use of sophisticated camera equipment is an aggravating factor on sentencing: “Modern camera and telecommunication technology potentially allows a voyeur to use much more sophisticated mechanical and electronic tools that would be far more difficult for a complainant or other person to detect. I believe I may take judicial notice that commercial sources have developed in the past decade that provide to the public highly sophisticated surveillance and recording apparatus, such as pinhole cameras, cameras disguised to appear to be innocuous objects such as pens, or smoke detectors, and wireless communications systems to connect cameras to recording devices and computers. There are no doubt legal and valid reasons for a person or business to employ these kinds of technologies, but their potential for misuse is easily understood when one reviews the instances where voyeuristic activities led to criminal convictions. I think it is a strongly aggravating factor that a voyeur uses sophisticated and difficult to detect technologies for illegal purposes for the simple fact of reducing the probability that the person being observed would detect that they were observed surreptitiously. Deployment of that kind of technology also indicates the voyeurism was a highly planned and premeditated activity. That is not to say that use of a ‘low-tech’ approach is a mitigating circumstance, rather that an unsophisticated observation scheme would be a neutral factor”: 2011 ABQB 312 at paras 208-211.
[2] One of the victims, 16-year-old JW, read her victim impact statement in Court. The Court finds that her statements were, “to say the least, disturbing and epitomized that of a young teenage girl, whose trust was abused and has literally been scarred for life.” JW told the Court that she “finds it extremely hard to trust another person and that is the most disgusting feeling, ‘almost like you shower and shower but you can never really get clean.’” She further stated that, “[K] has taken a part of me that should never be taken from a person: my self-worth.”: 2011 ABQB 312 at para 115.


Criminal Offence(s): Voyeurism