Pervert who filmed his friend's daughter while she showered is jailed
A thirty-year-old man who recorded a friend's teenage daughter while she showered, has been jailed for three months on charges of voyeurism and making a recording for sexual gratification.
During sentencing, a judge rejected a defence claim that the offences were lessened as his client never saw the footage, having been arrested immediately the recording device was found.
Abilio De Jesus Barreto, of Burn Road, Cookstown, and originally from East Timor, committed the offences on January 13.
Dungannon Magistrates Court heard the 15-year-old victim contacted police to say she discovered a phone had been placed in the bathroom of her home, which recorded her showering, without her knowledge or consent, for around 30 minutes.
She confronted Barreto, who was a friend of the family and owner of the phone.
He was arrested and while in custody provided a prepared statement in which he denied intentionally recording the girl, but then refused to answer any further questions. The charges were later admitted at court.
A defence solicitor acknowledged the case was serious and "the facts speak for themselves".
However, he argued when Barreto's phone was searched by police there was no other material found except the footage reported which, "although on the phone, my client never has access to view it".
The defence said Barreto is now in a relationship with a woman in his native East Timor, whom he is considering travelling back to, but ultimately wishes to remain in Northern Ireland.
But District Judge John Meehan expressed concern, as Barreto told the probation officer who prepared his pre-sentence report that the woman in question is 19 and they had only corresponded online for three months.
The judge said: "The defendant claims he is giving consideration to marrying this lady whom he has never met. The pre-sentence report also states he is not yet prepared to accept sexual feelings initiated his (voyeuristic) behaviour and denied thoughts of any sexual nature for the victim. This is not uncommon in these instances and is often a mechanism to protect self-esteem."
Judge Meehan continued, "The defendant says he is not interested in pursuing the victim romantically. There is an issue of objectifying this young person which is concerning. I see no real empathy for the deeply traumatic experience for that young girl - and a young girl she was.
"To have been subjected to this invasion of privacy in her home was horrendous. These were private, surreptitious, scheming offences."
Judge Meehan told Barreto: "It is no mitigation to say you did not see the footage. It was the pre-meditation and action of filming that young girl which constitutes the crime. You appear to feel by saying you have no romantic interest in her, that absolves you. That demonstrates a poor attitude toward females.
"There is a coldness here. In all the circumstances, there is a compelling need to protect others." Jailing Barreto for three months, he concluded: "I look, as I must look, to one of the core issues - the risk you represent, and I believe you are a continued risk to others."
In addition to the prison sentence, Barreto was also bound by a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for five years and is subject to sex registration and notification requirements.