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Legal loophole makes it harder to prosecute people who plant hidden cameras

There is no specific law prohibiting undercover recording for voyeuristic purposes.

PEOPLE WHO PLANT hidden cameras to record someone for sexual gratification can avoid prosecution due to a loophole in Irish law.

The Sunday Times has reported that as there is no specific law prohibiting undercover recording for voyeuristic purposes, it can be difficult to successfully prosecute people.

The newspaper referenced a case held in the circuit court last June where Judge Mary Ellen Ring dismissed charges made against a Dublin pensioner who allegedly planted a hidden camera in a toilet cubicle at a medical facility.

His lawyers successfully argued that their client could not be prosecuted under section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 as his actions could not be proven to be “persistent”.

The section states that “any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, by any means including by use of the telephone, harasses another by persistently following, watching, pestering, besetting or communicating with him or her, shall be guilty of an offence”.

Gardaí have successfully prosecuted a number of people using this law. If convicted, a person can be sentenced to a maximum of seven years in jail and fined up to €1,500.

However, members of the force are said to fear the verdict in the Ring case will make it more difficult to prosecute people suspected of planting undercover cameras.

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One woman who works at the medical facility where the camera was allegedly installed told the Sunday Times she was disappointed by the verdict.

I will never know whether my daughter or grandchildren, who all used that toilet, were filmed by that camera and  if their images have been stored or sold on to others.

Read: McDonald’s hidden bathroom camera isn’t spying on cubicles or urinals

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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