The evidence presented at trial plays an important role in whether an accused is deemed innocent or guilty. Once presented, a judge or jury will determine whether it supports the charges. Recently, a Superior Court Justice acquitted a former secondary school teacher of voyeurism after he was caught making videos of a total of 27 female students.
The issues at trial were first, if, while at school, a student had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Second, whether the man took the images for a sexual purpose. The images, which were taken with a pen camera, captured the upper bodies—including the cleavage and chest areas—as well as the faces of the young women. The man admitted to taking the videos which had not been enhanced in any way.
The justice determined that the students did have a reasonable expectation of privacy while at school and that those rights had been violated by the man’s actions. He did not find the videos were taken for a sexual purpose however. Though he said it was likely that is why the videos had been taken, he indicated there was a reasonable doubt that other inferences could be drawn from the videos that did not support a voyeurism conviction.
While the former teacher is likely pleased with the outcome, not everyone feels the same. An umbrella group of Ontario sexual-assault centres wants the Crown to appeal the acquittal. Whether this will happen is not clear.
As this case indicates the outcome to a criminal case is not predetermined. Accordingly, it is generally worth it to hire a criminal defence lawyer for assistance in crafting a case.