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Goff welcomes report on covert filming

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Justice

29 June 2004

Goff welcomes report on covert filming

Justice Minister Phil Goff today welcomed the Law Commission's report on covert filming, and said the government would introduce legislation creating new offences to cover the making, publishing and possession of voyeuristic recordings.

"The government referred the issue of covert filming to the Law Commission for its consideration last year after concerns about the inadequacy of legal sanctions against such behaviour," Mr Goff said.

"Covert filming is becoming an increasing problem as new technology, such as cell phones with photographic capabilities, is developed.

"The voyeuristic filming of people in toilets and changing sheds, or intruding into private houses is an utterly unacceptable intrusion into the privacy of individuals and should face criminal sanctions.

"It is the modern equivalent of peeping and peering, with the aggravating factor that what is observed can be easily recorded, manipulated and distributed with readily-available technology.

"International research also shows a correlation between voyeurism and sexual offending, and that it may be a 'gateway' offence to more serious offending.

"In line with the recommendations made by the Law Commission, I propose to introduce legislation that will criminalise those involved in covert filming of another person without their knowledge or consent in situations involving nudity, partial nudity, or physical or bodily intimacy where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the subsequent use of any such record.

"The Law Commission suggests that intentionally or recklessly making or publishing a voyeuristic recording should be punishable by up to three years' imprisonment. Possessing a voyeuristic recording, knowing that an offence was committed in its making, should carry a penalty of up to one year in jail.

"The government supports the availability of civil remedies for those who have been the subject of covert filming, and the Law Commission's recommendation that the Human Rights Review Tribunal should have the power to order forfeiture of images and equipment when dealing with such cases.

"The government's proposal to criminalise covert filming is consistent with what is being done overseas. The United Kingdom already has a voyeurism offence, while similar offences are proposed in Canada, New South Wales and at federal level in the United States, where many states already have their own voyeurism provisions," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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