herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

No jail for clerk who hid camera in ladies' toilet

A CLERK who planted a hidden camera in the ladies' toilets at a Dublin 4 office has been ordered to carry out community service instead of a jail sentence.

David Westby (49) put the video recording device in place in toilets at the building where he worked and filmed two of his colleagues using the facilities.

He was given a 240-hour community service order at Dublin District Court instead of a nine-month prison sentence.

Judge Michael Walsh also fined him €1,500.

harassment

He made the orders after hearing Westby had already paid €4,500 in compensation to one of the women, whose health had been "adversely affected" by the episode.

The other victim did not want any financial compensation.

Westby, with an address at Seafort Avenue, Dublin 4, pleaded guilty to harassing the two women.

The offences happened on dates between June 1 and December 4, 2012, at an office building in Dublin 4.

The case was heard previously and had been adjourned for a community service suitability report to be produced.

Reading the report, the judge said it was "positive" and that the accused was deemed suitable.

Defence solicitor Jeremy Ring said the compensation had been paid.

The judge made the orders on one of the charges and took the other into consideration.

The defendant did not address the court during the brief hearing.

Previously, the court heard the video recording device was discovered by one of the victims.

She made a complaint and the device was examined by the garda technical bureau. A number of video clips of both victims totalling 45 minutes were retrieved.

The accused made admissions when interviewed by gardai.

Westby had worked at the firm for 30 years and was sacked when the offence came to light. He had worked with one of the women for several decades and the other for eight years. He had no previous convictions.

Probation and medical reports on the defendant were handed in to court, as well as character references. Victim impact statements were also presented to the court by Gda Stephen Homan.

Mr Ring said the defendant was remorseful and had written letters of apology to the victims.

He was attending a psychologist, had received psychiatric out-patient treatment and is due to go for counselling when the case is finalised.

Mr Ring said Westby lived in a "good address" but was now unemployed and the €4,500 he had in compensation was "basically the last of his savings".

His employment prospects for the future were "not great".

The first victim had said in her statement that she would not accept "any monetary funds by way of compensation".

"She received a letter of apology but she does not accept it as being in any way meaningful," Judge Walsh noted.

The second victim stated that she had suffered anxiety, upset and distress.

violation

Her statement painted a picture of "violation and betrayal by a colleague with whom she worked closely for over eight years".

"This episode has had a serious adverse effect on her health and the effects were ongoing," the judge said.

A previous probation report described the accused's "difficult childhood" and noted that he appeared to understand the consequences of his actions.

The judge said the offences were serious and had a "sexual component".

hnews@herald.ie

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