Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
A Sydney man who filmed his flatmate without consent at their Burwood home after secretly installing a hidden camera inside a smoke alarm in her bedroom “to obtain sexual arousal” has been sentenced to a two-year community corrections order.
For four months earlier this year, Ratna Babu Bolleddu spied on his flatmate for his own sexual pleasure through the hidden camera in her bedroom.
But the 25-year-old man’s luck expired when the woman discovered the spy camera on the ceiling of her bedroom and reported him to police.
Officers executed a crime scene warrant at the Wilga Street apartment, just across the road from Westfield Burwood shopping mall.
Mr Bolleddu, who was sharing the apartment with the woman and two other flatmates, was arrested and taken to Burwood Police Station.
He was charged with filming a person in a private act without consent and given a notice to face Burwood Local Court in March over the matter.
Indeed, as Mr Bolleddu was approached for comment upon declaring his innocence, it seemed the man did not enjoy being recorded himself, rapidly bolting away from 7NEWS reporters.
The footage was met with disdain from the public, who made comments such as, “Was hoping he’d trip over and eat some concrete” and “Run buddy… Geezuz [sic] you need to live alone these days in a windowless building with a 20ft wall and a drawbridge and mote equipped with crocodiles and archers on entry”.
Another ridiculed, “I guess he must have seen a lot of things. Sick bloke”.
A “Disgusting” Act: Mr Bolleddu Reprimanded by Magistrate for Filming Woman Without Consent as He Fronts Burwood Local Court
On 15 September, Mr Bolleddu fronted Burwood Local Court for sentencing with Magistrate Lisa Stapleton reprimanding his appalling behaviour.
“The amount of preparation and pre-planning that went into it… it could never be described as impulsive,” Magistrate Lisa Stapleton said.
“I think it’s disgusting.”
Mr Bolleddu’s victim revealed the incident left her shaken and upset with little ability to now trust people, eight months on from the discovery of the hidden camera.
“What has crushed my spirit is that the very person that I trusted a lot, invaded my privacy,” she addressed in an impact statement.
“Eight months on, I’m left in a state of shock and it’s difficult for me to trust people again.”
During the sentencing, defence lawyer for Mr Bolleddu said his client was lonely and is attempting to get his life back on track.
He advised Mr Bolleddu has taken steps to reform himself, including writing an apology to his victim.
The court was told the 25-year-old is now living in another share house with his new girlfriend and another couple.
Mr Bolleddu was found guilty of filming a person engaged in a private act without consent and sentenced to 300 hours of community service under a Community Corrections Order.
He is also required to complete a program with a psychologist.
Meanwhile, another charge Mr Bolleddu faced, relating to the installation of a device to record a private conversation, was dismissed.
In NSW, it is a criminal offence to film people without their consent while they engage in a private act.
This offence can result in a criminal record, with up to two-years imprisonment or $11,000 fine, or both pursuant to section 91K(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
In addition there more consequences to being convicted of a sex offence like this.
It is also a crime to instal a device or to construct or adapt the fabric of a building to facilitate the observation or filming of another while committing the offence of filming a person without consent engaging in a private act.
Click here for an outline on the law on filming a person engaged in a private act in NSW.
As defined in section 91N of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), a “private act” is considered a situation where the person being filmed is in a state of undress, using the toilet, shower or bath, is engaged in a sexual act of a kind not ordinarily done in public, or engaged in any other like activity.
What You Should Know About Smoke Detector Cameras
It may come as a surprise to learn that smoke detector cameras are actually some of the most popular hidden cameras on the market.
This is because, for those who prefer to know what’s going on in their home or business in their absence, a small camera designed to fit within a smoke detector is inconspicuous and unassuming given that smoke detectors are required in most living spaces and workspaces.
Indeed, most people aren’t suspicious of the sight of a smoke detector fitted on a ceiling and the chances are it won’t occur to them that it is actually storing a hidden camera.
Although some smoke detector cameras tend to be functioning smoke detectors, most are not.
Rather, they are usually hollow shells designed to look exactly like working smoke detectors, but simply contain a miniscule camera inside.
Smoke detectors cameras are broadly available to purchase from retailers including Amazon, eBay, and Australian electronic retailer Jaycar Electronics.
Many actually come with a disclaimer, which reads along the lines of:
“Warning: These cameras should not be placed in areas where there is an expectation of privacy. Such places typically include bathrooms, bedrooms, toilets, dressing rooms etc. Use of these devices in such locations can lead to criminal prosecution and severe penalties.”
Have a question? Get in touch with experienced criminal lawyers today.