As our technological world advances so too does the concern that those technologies can be misused to secretly observe other people, whether that action is intentional or not. Voyeurism was added to the Criminal Code in 2005 to address those concerns. It is defined in the Criminal Code as: surreptitiously observing or making a visual recording of a person who, given the circumstance, has a reasonable expectation of privacy. This charge is only laid when it is assumed that the recording is determined to be for a sexual purpose, making the consequences for a conviction very severe.

A relatively new area of law that involves the use of unregulated technology, voyeurism can be hard to prove in court. To secure a conviction the prosecution is required to demonstrate how a particular circumstance gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy as well as the fact that the recording was taken for a sexual purpose.

Penalties for Voyeurism

Where a conviction is obtained, a summary offense carries a maximum of six months in prison and the more serious indictable offense carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. Possibly even more concerning is that a voyeurism conviction requires that an individual is placed on the Sexual Offender’s Information Registry (SOIRA). A summary conviction means that registration will last for at least ten years and an indictable conviction will last for at least twenty, with multiple offenders being registered for life.

Do I have a defense?

Where voyeurism is concerned, the line denoting lawfulness can be somewhat blurry. An adept prosecution can make something as simple as taking pictures on a public beach result in jail time, a criminal record and registry on the sexual offenders list for a minimum of ten years. However, due to the difficulties in prosecuting a voyeurism case, it is very possible that these charges can be resolved outside of court.

If you have been charged with voyeurism, your ultimate goal should be to resolve the case without a trial. A trial carries with it the risk of being found guilty and a voyeurism conviction will damage not only your name and your reputation, but any current and future potential opportunities. With the legal assistance of Vishal Sharma, resolution before going to trial is a real possibility, meaning that your name will be protected long before it reaches public scrutiny.