Sexual Offences Act
Section 67 Sexual Offences Act 2003 states:
That a person commits an offence if for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, he observes another person doing a private act, and he knows that the other person does not consent to being observed for his sexual gratification.
That a person commits an offence if he operates equipment with the intention of enabling another person to observe, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, a third person doing a private act, and he knows that that other person does not consent to the operation of equipment with that intention.
A person commits an offence if he records another person doing a private act, and he does so with the intention that he or a third person will, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, look at an image of the other person doing the act, and he knows that the other person does not consent to his recording the act with that intention.
A person commits an offence if he installs equipment, or constructs or adapts a structure or part of a structure, with the intention of enabling himself or another person to commit an offence under subsection (1) of the Act, being the first paragraph above.
A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both.
On conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.
The question is what is a private act, and simply put, the definition is that is totally private, and not able to be seen by any other person, but excludes such acts taking place in public areas. Simply put, if consent is not present to be observed by others, then consent does not exist (excluding public areas). There should be sexual gratification.
Each allegation is on different facts in relation to this section, and for advice on the law, contact Penman Sedgwick.
Case Example 1
R .v. City of Westminster Magistrates Court
Instructed to defend a client charged with 3 separate offences of committing an act outraging public decency by behaving in an indecent manner, namely using a mobile phone to film up a woman`s skirt on the London underground system , and retaining the images. A further 5 separate offences of the same nature, not charged were to be taken into account,, contrary to common law, and a history of similar offending. The pleas entered were guilty, and on the basis of lengthy legal submissions in mitigation, the client was not given a custodial sentence of up to a period of one year in the Magistrates Court, nor sent to the Crown Court for a greater custodial sentence.The sentence obtained was a Community Order, being restriction by way of electronic tag for a period of 3 months between the hours of 7.30pm -6.30am; a Sex Offenders Prevention Order for a period of 5 years not to have in possession a mobile telephone with a camera/video facility or other image retaining device, and prosecution costs of £85.00.
Case Example 2
R.v. Hussain – Aylesbury Magistrate Court
The Defendant, a male, in a sports centre unisex changing area, recorded a female in an adjacent cubicle doing a private act, with the intention, and for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, look at an image of that person doing the act, knowing that that person did not consent to the recording the act with that intention, contrary to Section 67(3) and (5) of The Sexual Offences Act 2003.
The Defendant pleaded guilty, and the Magistrates put the matter over for sentencing.
At the sentencing hearing, Penman Sedgwick made a series of legal submissions and referral to stated case law from the Court of Appeal ( Criminal Division ).
The sentence of the Court was:
1. A Community Order for a 12 month period.
2. An unpaid work requirement of 100 hours.
3. A notification requirement under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Schedule 3.
This matter was an offence with aggravating factors, being recording activity, and as such the starting point was 26 weeks custody to crown Court.
If you need any advice on a Voyeurism matter please contact us, and we will respond as soon as possible, or call us on 01923 225212.