DCSIMG

Man took ‘upskirt’ pictures of women with shoe camera

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News

In the first case of its kind here a driving instructor who went ‘upskirting’, secretly taking snapshots with a shoe-mounted mini camera of unsuspecting female shoppers, has been put on probation for three years.

Judge David Smyth QC told Jonathan Alfred Gibson, from Central Promenade, in the seaside town of Newcastle, he believed the extended supervision was in his and the public’s best interests.

The Downpatrick Crown Court judge also banned 37-year-old Gibson, until further notice, of having any camera taking mobile phone or any miniature camera, to further reassure the public and to prevent any repetition of Gibson’s offending.

Judge Smyth said that while his vulnerable victims were unaware he was photographing up their skirts and dresses, Gibson, whose motivation was ‘clearly sexual’, had invaded and violated their privacy and peace of mind.

He added that Gibson’s admitted ‘outrage of public decency’ was of public concern, particular to women who should be able to go shopping without fear of being targeted by people like him.

The pervert plans of the would-be photographer on May 28 last year came undone when he was reported to security staff by a suspicious male shopper who spotted him putting a foot wrong as he targeted females using a shopping centre escalator.

Prosecutor Samuel Magee said that Gibson was captured on camera himself, on CCTV footage at the Forestside Shopping Centre, targeting women wearing either skirts or dresses. He added that after following one woman travelling up the escalator, he waited around for another unsuspecting female to make the trip back to the ground floor.

Mr Magee said Gibson - whose secret camera was located in the laces of a shoe, was spooked - and, suspecting he was being watched by security staff left the centre returning to his silver coloured Ford car. However, he was easily identified from the livery on the side of the vehicle advertising his ‘Johnny’s Driving School’.

When arrested a few days later at his home Gibson ‘candidly accepted’ he had been wearing the camera allowing him to film under women’s clothing. Mr Magee said in later statements Gibson said he did not know why he had done what he had, but that he was ‘embarrassed and disappointed with himself’.

Defence lawyer Joel Lindsay said that if ever there was a man who had learned a hard lesson, that man was Gibson, whose driving business had virtually been wiped out . It had also put strain on his wife’s own business which had received abusive emails.

He added that it could not be said Gibson, who was disgusted with himself, was ‘caught bang to rights’ as there had been no evidence, save his confession, to his ‘upskirting’ as it is called.

Mr Lindsay said since his arrest, a remorseful and shamed Gibson, has been receiving counselling through his church, and that the measure of any man was what he did afterwards, which in his case, he had destroyed the offending material on his way home.

This prompted Judge Smyth to ask, did he do so because he suspected he’d been caught, or because of the realisation of what he had done.

Later when sentencing Gibson, the judge added that he thought ‘it much more likely’, Gibson suspected he had been spotted and had destroyed the evidence - the sim card in the camera.

 
 
 

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