I’ve waited a week for an announcement of a Police appeal against the extraordinary judgment by Auckland District Court judge Claire Bennett, but to date, nothing.

That was her discharge without penalty, plus name suppression, of a bloke who put a camera in a gym and took almost 40,000 photos and videos of women and men in “various states of undress,” using the toilet and what have you, in a uni-sex gymnasium dressing room. The judge let him off scot-free on the most extraordinary grounds.

First, she described the offending as an “isolated incident”. How on earth 40,000 photos and videos amounts to an “isolated incident” is beyond belief.

Then she said, a conviction, punishment and exposure of his name would adversely affect both his job and employer’s reputation, namely a government agency.

Obviously if the particular government agency was say, The Human Rights office, it would be more embarrassing for them given their function, as opposed to say the Tax office. But that’s bad luck and no-one would really hold any employer in disrepute for the criminal activities of an employee. The Police, for example, have a sizeable unit investigating criminal offences by police-officers and regularly bring prosecutions. That’s not embarrassing, rather it’s honest and to their credit, as opposed to covering up offences by their personnel. Such offending is inevitable when ordinary folk are given a uniform and authority.

What could be more embarrassing to the government than when our top military attaché in our Washington embassy was prosecuted last year for an identical toilet photographing offence in the embassy?

He was named and shamed, albeit seemingly got off lightly with a four and a half months home detention, a “punishment” that always strikes me as farcical.

Surreptitious photographing people in dressing rooms and toilets seems a fairly regular offence, liable for prison terms. God knows why blokes get a kick out of it, (they’re always males) but plainly some do.

But if Judges are going to behave in this fashion, then any deterrence factor is eliminated. The Police must appeal this insane judgment.


markscreaminggoosearmstrong July 8, 2020 at 9:31 am

Couldn’t agree more – our Jacinda shouldn’t put up with this.

Hopefully, the Chief District Court Judge will be having a serious talk with her.
If in the USA, there is a separate law for denizens of the Swamp not in NZ please.

In an era when people are being summarily dismissed from their jobs for relatively benign social media posts and in some cases the postings of family members, this seems an excessively lenient judgement.
Public servants are bound by a code of conduct, part of which is “We must act lawfully and objectively” so hopefully his employer gets wind of his transgression and acts appropriately to hold him accountable for his actions.

Agree completely.
Also pertinent, why has the NZ media not followed this up?
Could it be, that not wanting to rock the boat in any way that might cast further shadow on St Jacinda’s re-election,this issue has been cast into the “unimportant,not relevant” bin?
Our media have proven themselves,with one or two notable exceptions,to be totally compliant with regard to their assumed role as this goverment’s cheerleaders.

Perhaps our hapless Minister of Justice had a word with the judge !
He is , after all very keen to see our incarceration rates plummet and our hopeless Minister of Corrections wants our jails emptied.
Simply appalling.

Agree totally! And this at a time when people’s reputations and employment are destroyed by innuendo and unproven accusations of sexism, racism, genderism, etc where no proof is required. Simply an accusation is sufficient to destroy

Hear Hear

It is very disconcerting how ‘ politicised’ the Police hierachy have become varying under this govt. It started when the previous Commissioner made a statement saying that Police were not actively investigating arderns partner. First time in NZ history that a Police Commissioner has made a political statement like that. You just have to wonder how high up the food chain the influence of this govt is affecting Police decisions. The cops who have to do the investigations have no say in decisions such as appeals/varying charges etc. It is a real concern to rank and file officers.

Well then, if there is no punishment coming from the Courts I daresay a few of the burly folk from the gym might dispense their own justice. Most gyms have a half decent boxer in there somewhere…

Perhaps an important functionary of the Ministry of Arts + Culture ,Film Commission , or some such undertaking a traditional “Cultural Endeavour”
It does seem that some in the Civil Service are never accountable

The immediate thought has to be he was is a staff member at the Auckland District Court and the judge is protecting her own.

It makes you wonder how much of this is out there that we don’t know about. You’re probably already on someone’s “secret sex tape” Bob. Just pray it doesn’t get…um…leaked, lol.

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