Dad uses very young son to video underneath teen’s skirt
A father who used his three-year-old son to assist in attaining video footage under a teenager's skirt has gotten away with a fine.
Jacob Cooper was sentenced in Caloundra Magistrates Court on Wednesday for one count of recording genital or anal region in breach of privacy after an incident at Beerwah Woolworths on January 18.
Police prosecutor Mark Burrell said Cooper, who immediately noticed the 18-year-old female victim after entering the store was observed using his son to get closer to the victim before he filmed underneath her skirt twice.
"He placed the child on the ground to walk and appears to usher the child in the direction of the victim female," he said.
"Shortly after, the suspect followed the victim to the cake section in the bakery area and whilst holding the mobile phone the defendant bends down next to the victim and is observed placing his mobile phone under her skirt recording her genital and anal regions.
"The defendant walks off in the opposite direction clearly checking his mobile phone as if to ensure he captured the recording."
"Horrified staff" later stood in between the unaware victim and the defendant at the self-serve check-out to stop him from using the camera that was still open on his phone.
Senior Constable Burrell said an inspection of Cooper's phone failed to locate any images or recordings, but police suspected he had deleted any material after viewing it.
He said a high fine, a period of probation or a period if imprisonment wholly suspended was in range for the prevalent and "disgusting behaviour".
Cooper's lawyer Mark Dixon said a suspended sentence was not in range and instead suggested a high fine and compensation or a period of probation as an appropriate punishment.
Mr Dixon said the offence was committed over a short period of time, there was no footage evidence and there was no suggestion of distribution and asked Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist not to record a conviction.
He said a conviction would have a "direct and tangible" impact by denying Cooper the opportunity to work overseas.
Mr Stjernqvist said the offence in which Cooper used his child as a ruse to get closer to his victim was "heinous" and displayed depravity on every level.
"It wasn't a last minute thought when you approached within the distance required to do what you did, you intended it not once but twice," he said.
Mr Stjernqvist fined Cooper $3000 and ordered him to pay $1000 in compensation.
He said he didn't believe the offence should be hidden and recorded a conviction.