Taking photos of young people in locker rooms is a crime, says Supreme Court

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Taking photos of young people in locker rooms is a crime, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Friday that the voyeurism conviction of a British Columbia hockey coach should be restored.

The Supreme Court of Canada has restored the conviction of& #x27;a British Columbia sports coach who took photos of young players in a hockey locker room and ruled that locker rooms are safe spaces where taking photos of children is an invasion not only of their “privacy , but also to their sexual integrity”.

At the center of the case is Randy William Downes. He coached hockey and baseball in Metro Vancouver while also running a sports photography business.

In 2019, he was convicted in a British Columbia court of two counts of voyeurism for taking 38 photos of two hockey players he was coaching while they were in the locker room. The teenagers, then aged 12 and 14, were not naked in the photos, but were undressed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal reversed the 2022 trial decision and ordered a new trial, finding that the previous judgment did not; had not considered whether the photos were taken at a time when nudity in the locker room could reasonably be expected.

The trial judge found in 2019 that Mr. Downes breached the reasonable requirement of locker room privacy.

The article 162 of the Criminal Code states that a person can be convicted of voyeurism if the person they are photographing or recording is in a place where it is reasonable to expect a person to be naked.< /p>

This article designates places such as bedrooms, bathrooms and changing rooms as safe places, where people must be safe from intrusions into their privacy and sexual integrity, says Judge Mahmud Jamal, who wrote the decision.

The question posed to the Supreme Court was whether Section 162 of the Criminal Code considers the time when photos or recordings are taken to be relevant. The eight judges who took part in the deliberations unanimously decided that it was irrelevant, overturned the decision of the appeals court and restored the guilt of Randy William Downes.

Surreptitiously taking photos of children in their underwear in a place considered inherently safe like a hockey locker room violates not only the privacy of children, but also their integrity sexual, even if the nudity was not reasonably expected at the time the photos were taken, the Court says.

Judge Jamal adds that if Parliament had intended that the notion of time is relevant, he would have mentioned it in article 162.

The judgment notes that Judge Russell Brown did not participate in the final decision.

The Canadian Judicial Council said earlier this week it was reviewing a complaint about Justice Brown's conduct. He has been off court since February 1 because of the complaint.

With information from Richard Raycraft

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