August 2016

Northern Ireland camera pervert faces mixed changing rooms ban


A pervert who recorded two women in a leisure centre could be barred from mixed changing rooms, a judge has said

After he adjourned the sentencing of 26-year-old Michael Campbell at Newtownards Magistrates Court, District Judge Mark Hamill said there was also the potential of a sexual offences prevention order and him being placed on the police sex offenders register.

The object of sentencing, said the judge, was to have him not coming back to court and “to protect the public.”

During an earlier hearing Campbell, from Cranley Road in Bangor, was convicted of two counts of voyeurism in relation to two women and attempted voyeurism in relation to two boys who were in the changing room at the Aurora centre with their mum.

The charges outline that “for the purpose of sexual gratification,” Campbell recorded another person doing a private act, knowing that the other person did not consent to being recorded for sexual gratification.”

During a contested hearing last month, the court heard how Campbell was in a cubicle at the multi-million pound leisure faculty in his home town when he recorded a woman in the next changing cubicle by putting his mobile phone under the partition.

He also tried to record a female in the cubicle on the other side but was unsuccessful because, as he himself confessed, he “didn’t hit the button right.”

Giving evidence on his own behalf, Campbell denied being a paedophile, claiming he only tried to record his second unsuspecting victim because he heard her tell her 11 and four-year-old sons to go out and meet their dad.

He told the court: “That’s when I thought ‘Ok’, I attempted to take a video over the cubicle, thinking the children were away. But I didn’t do it, because I didn’t press the button right.”

The boys’ mum was alerted when her eldest son spotted Campbell’s hand holding the phone over the top of their cubicle, but when he was eventually arrested, police were unable to retrieve any information from phones seized.

Campbell further claimed he had been on holiday and had inadvertently taken the mobile he had used into the water, damaging it irrevocably, while the prosecution confirmed no offending material had been uncovered on either a laptop or two other mobile phones seized from Campbell.

During his plea in mitigation, defence lawyer Conan Wray conceded that Campbell had significant problems which needed to be addressed and needed support.

Releasing Campbell on continuing bail, Judge Hamill told him to return to court for sentencing tomorrow.