herald

Thursday 21 March 2019

Pervert followed two women shoppers to film under their skirts

Philip Brown was caught filming the two women in Blanchardstown shopping centre. Photo: Herald News
Philip Brown was caught filming the two women in Blanchardstown shopping centre. Photo: Herald News

This is the pervert who harassed two women by taking videos of them under their dresses while they were out shopping.

Philip Brown (46) followed the two women around a pharmacy in Blanchardstown while he covertly took the secret footage.

He later told gardai he wanted to see the women's underwear, not anything explicit.

One of his victims was out with her two young children while a second was browsing on her own. Neither were aware of Brown's behaviour until detectives contact them.

They said they were "shocked" and "quite ill to the stomach" at the idea that a person was recording their underwear.

Blanchardstown District Court heard Brown was caught by an eagle-eyed security guard who reported the matter to detectives.

Judge David McHugh adjourned sentencing to facilitate the preparation of victim impact reports.

Brown, with an address at Warrenstown Walk in Blanchardstown, was found guilty of two counts of harassment at Boots Pharmacy in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on July 1 and July 3, 2015.

He had denied the charge.

Victim

The first victim gave evidence she was browsing in Boots on July 1. She was wearing an orange t-shirt and a short denim skirt.

She said she was unaware of anything until Detective Garda Mark Ferris contacted her and showed her some CCTV footage.

In it, the woman said a man appeared to be following her around the shop. He was holding his mobile phone down, and "holding the camera at an angle where he could view under my skirt".

The woman, in her 30s, said she didn't notice Brown and there was no altercation.

She said she was "shocked" and "quite ill to the stomach" to think that someone could behave like that.

The second victim was shopping with her two young children on July 3, 2015.

She gave evidence she was contacted by Gda Ferris and shown CCTV.

In the CCTV, she said she was standing in the aisle looking at sunglasses and "he's lower than me and his mobile phone is recording under my dress".

The woman said the defendant's behaviour was "quite disgusting", and now when she takes her little girl shopping she doesn't want her to wear a dress.

In his evidence, Gda Ferris said security staff in Blanchardstown contacted gardai in relation to a suspicious male who appeared to be recording and taking photographs in Boots.

Gda Ferris went to the shopping centre and met Brown as he left the scene.

Sixteen video files were found on the defendant's phone, all dating from July 3. Files on other dates had been deleted.

The judge - though not the court - was shown five videos of an intimate nature of the second victim.

Gda Ferris said there were files involving other women but gardai had been unable to identify them.

He said the defendant was later questioned and shown CCTV footage.

It was also played to the court. Gda Ferris said the footage showed Brown following one of the women for eight minutes, the second for seven minutes.

When questioned by gardai, Brown accepted the man in the CCTV looked like him and was holding a small brown envelope over his phone to conceal it.

Brown told gardai: "I just took photos." He also told them he wanted to see the women's underwear, not anything explicit.

Defence lawyer Ciaran MacLoughlin argued this was a "new type of offence" and "legislation had not caught up with it".

Disgusted

Mr MacLoughlin said the judge may be "offended or disgusted" by the defendant's behaviour but he asked him to use his "legal not moral head".

The lawyer said Brown's behaviour could not be constituted as harassment as the persistent nature of the offence was missing.

Mr MacLoughlin claimed there was no offence which covered Brown's behaviour and it was an example of the State "trying to shoehorn this into old legislation".

State solicitor Mairead White argued the persistent nature of the charge had been met, as Brown followed the women around the shop and the CCTV clearly showed him "positioning and repositioning himself to get closer" with his phone.

Finding Brown guilty, Judge McHugh said he had carefully observed the demeanour of the defendant on CCTV and he had chosen his victims very carefully when they were "most distracted".

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