Built to Perfection

Supreme Court restores conviction of B.C. hockey coach who took changeroom photos of young players

In a landmark ruling on voyeurism issued Friday, the Supreme Court docket of Canada has restored the conviction of a British Columbia sports coach who took images of his gamers in a hockey dressing home.

In restoring the conviction, the courtroom ruled that improve rooms are risk-free spaces and getting pictures of kids in that setting not only violates their “privateness but also their sexual integrity.”

At the centre of the circumstance is Randy William Downes, who coached hockey and baseball in B.C.’s Decrease Mainland. He also ran a sports activities images company.

A B.C. court convicted Downes in 2019 on two counts of voyeurism right after he was uncovered to have taken 38 photos of two adolescent hockey players he coached, aged 12 and 14, in a changing area.

The boys have been in different states of undress in the photographs but were being not nude. The trial judge located that the boys experienced a fair expectation of privacy in the modifying room, which Downes violated.

Section 162(1)(a) of the Felony Code says a human being may well be convicted of voyeurism if the individual photographed or recorded “is in a area in which a man or woman can fairly be anticipated to be nude.”

B.C.’s Court of Appeal overturned Downes’s conviction in 2022 and purchased a new demo. Justice Peter Willcock wrote in the majority decision that the prior judgment did not consider whether or not the images ended up taken at a time when nudity could reasonably be envisioned in the dressing space.

In his factors for judgment, Willcock wrote that there is certainly a scarcity of situation legislation to cite on s.162(1)(a). The problem ahead of the Supreme Court docket was whether s.162(1)(a) considers the timing of pics or recordings to be pertinent.

Russell Brown does not take part in ruling

The court ruled unanimously that it truly is not suitable. It set apart the Court of Enchantment selection and restored Downes’ convictions.

“In influence, s. 162(1)(a) designates sites these as bedrooms, bathrooms and dressing rooms as ‘safe places’ wherever folks need to be absolutely free from intrusions onto their privateness and sexual integrity,” Justice Mahmud Jamal, producing on behalf of the court docket, reported in the judgment.

“Using surreptitious photographs of youngsters in their underwear in an inherently ‘safe place’ like a hockey dressing area violates not only the children’s privacy but also their sexual integrity, even if nudity was not fairly anticipated when the shots were taken.”

Jamal added that if Parliament had desired timing to be relevant, it could have included that language in s.162(1)(a).

The judgment notes that Justice Russell Brown failed to take part in the ultimate disposition.

The Canadian Judicial Council mentioned earlier this 7 days that it is “examining a complaint” with regards to Brown’s perform. He has been on depart from the court because Feb. 1 because of the criticism.

The Vancouver Solar described Thursday that the complaint concerns Brown’s perform at an Arizona resort exactly where he was a visitor speaker. Brown told the paper in a statement that he would release a statement on the matter “shortly.”