Section 91K Crimes Act 1900 | Filming Person Engaged in Private Act


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The law has had to adapt to advances in modern technology by creating new offences for instances where technology is used for improper means.

In recent times, there have been a number of highly publicised incidents in which persons were charged under the law for filming others without their permission.

Section 91K of the Crimes Act deals with the offence of “filming a person engaged in a private act.”

It says that where you film another person engaged in a private act without their consent, and knowing that they did not consent, you may face a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $11,000.

A “private act” is any act which involves a person being undressed – such as using the toilet, showing, bathing or engaging in a sexual act.

“Private acts” may also include acts that a reasonable person would expect to perform in private, away from prying eyes.

Before you can be found guilty of this offence, the prosecution must also prove that you filmed the other person or persons with the intention of obtaining or allowing another person to obtain sexual arousal or gratification.

You may also face heavier penalties where you committed the offence in “circumstances of aggravation” – in other words, where there were factors at play that made your offending more serious.

Under the law, there are two possible “circumstances of aggravation,” however the prosecution only needs to prove at least one for you to be found guilty of an aggravated offence. These are:

  • Where the person being filmed was a child under the age of 16, or;
  • Where you adapted a building for the purpose of filming – for example, if you installed secret cameras in the ceiling or walls.

In these cases, the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment.

While these penalties are obviously very lengthy, it’s important to remember that they are maximums only and will only apply in the most serious cases.

Our expert lawyers can give you the strongest possible defence against these type of charges by advising you of your options and any defences that you may raise to avoid a conviction.

The Legislation

Section 91K of the Crimes Act deals with the offence of “filming a person engaged in a private act” and reads as follows:

(1) General offence: A person who, for the purpose of obtaining, or enabling another person to obtain, sexual arousal or sexual gratification, films another person who is engaged in a private act:

(a) without the consent of the person being filmed to being filmed for that purpose, and

(b) knowing that the person being filmed does not consent to being filmed for that purpose,

is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

(2) An offence against subsection (1) is a summary offence.

(3) Aggravated offence: A person who, for the purpose of obtaining, or enabling another person to obtain, sexual arousal or sexual gratification, films another person who is engaged in a private act:

(a) without the consent of the person being filmed to being filmed for that purpose, and

(b) knowing that the person being filmed does not consent to being filmed for that purpose, and

(c) in circumstances of aggravation,

is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 5 years.

(4) In this section,

“circumstances of aggravation” means circumstances in which:

(a) the person whom the offender filmed was a child under the age of 16 years, or

(b) the offender constructed or adapted the fabric of any building for the purpose of facilitating the commission of the offence.

(5) Alternative verdict: If on the trial of a person charged with an offence against subsection (3) the trier of fact is not satisfied that the offence is proven but is satisfied that the person has committed an offence against subsection (1), the trier of fact may acquit the person of the offence charged and find the person guilty of an offence against subsection (1). The person is liable to punishment accordingly.

(6) Attempts: A person who attempts to commit an offence under subsection (1) or (3) is liable to the penalty provided for the commission of the offence.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

It can be hard to know who to turn to when you’ve been accused of “filming someone engaged in a private act.”

However, the experts at Sydney Criminal Lawyers can point you in the right direction and advise you of the best course of action when it comes to securing a favourable outcome in your case.

Our lawyers are criminal law specialists with a wealth of experience fighting and winning serious criminal cases, including cases related to voyeurism and filming without consent.

We strive to have matters resolved early on by carefully examining the evidence to find problems with the prosecution case – where identified, we can ask the prosecution to drop the charges on this basis.

However, should your matter proceed to court, we will work alongside Sydney’s leading criminal defence barristers to ensure that you have the strongest possible defence in your case.

Our lawyers are highly skilled in deconstructing the prosecution case through the delivery of persuasive arguments and careful examination of all relevant witnesses.

We can also assist you by raising any possible defences in a compelling manner, which, if accepted, will result in a verdict of “not guilty.”

Should you simply wish to accept the charges against you and plead guilty, our lawyers can assist you in obtaining a lenient penalty by presenting compelling sentencing submissions which focus on positive factors.

For the best result in your “filing person” matter, contact Sydney’s criminal law experts on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference today.