A former teacher at a high school in London, Southwestern Ontario, was sentenced to jail time for voyeurism. A case that could set a precedent in Canada.Ryan Jarvis had filmed, with a camera hidden in a pen, about thirty students, some as young as 14 years old. Many of these images emphasized the breasts and décolleté of girls.
He had filmed his videos in 2010 and 2011 in various locations at H.B.Beal High School, including hallways, classrooms, cafeteria and staff offices.
In 2015, he was acquitted at trial because the judge was not convinced that the videos had been shot for sexual purposes.
The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the acquittal for different reasons: the judges felt that students should not have privacy expectations in public areas of the school .
Last February, however, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that the teacher was guilty of voyeurism. In its decision, the highest court in the country concluded that teenage girls were entitled to expect that their teacher would not film them without their knowledge.
Ryan Jarvis was sentenced to 6 months in prison and 12 months in probation.
Voyeurism, a criminal offense
Pierre Trudel, professor at the Public Law Research Center of the Faculty of Law of the University of Montreal, believes this is an important decision on the interpretation of the law.
"The Jarvis case is, in a way, the first situation in which courts in Canada have been called upon to interpret the content and scope of an offense that was introduced a few years ago in the Criminal Code. makes it a crime to commit an act of voyeurism, "he explains.According to Jordan Gold, a defense lawyer at Robichaud's law firm in London, this conviction shows that these types of offenses do not necessarily have to be related to what is "traditionally" perceived as voyeurism to be considered a criminal offense.
"I have a client who has been accused of voyeurism: this case will certainly be important because it gives a new standard, with a greater scope," he says.
A precedent for the protection of privacy
Beyond the Jarvis case itself, the Superior Court judge Andrew Goodman stated in the sentence statement that they would like to send a message of deterrence regarding the use of cell phones to take pictures in public.
Pierre Trudel emphasizes the importance of this decision given the proliferation of cell phones equipped with cameras.
"This is where the Jarvis case is illuminating," he says, because "if you consider that using the camera with a pen can help you commit that offense, then it's all the more the truth of any person who has a device that captures images in circumstances where the person has a legitimate expectation that he or she will not be observed intrusively ".
For Jordan Gold, this case will offer a certain precedent for cases of voyeurism.
"There may be cases where an accused has decided to take out his phone spontaneously to film something, and maybe the judge will say that the person might have reasonable expectations of his privacy …. But, he could there was the argument that this recording was not planned and that it was spontaneous. "