An imminent ruling from a Connecticut Appeals Court could determine whether someone has the right to record you during intimate moments without you knowing it.
The case at issue involves a Wilton man who is accused of using his iPhone to film three women he was having sex with, at separate times. The sex was consensual, but the women had no idea they were being filmed. The defendant won at trial.
The main issue is how the state defines voyeurism. Right now, the statute says: “A person is guilty of voyeurism when, (1) with malice, such person knowingly photographs, films, videotapes or otherwise records the image of another person (a) without the knowledge and consent of such other person, (b) while such person is not in plain view, and (c) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy…”
Based on that language, the attorney for defendant John Panek, William Westcott, argued that if someone is in “plain view” of the person filming them, then no crime is committed.
“People know that if they are engaged in intimate conduct, there's no law in our state that prohibits that from being filmed by someone else who was actually present. And that's the key,” Westcott said.
The state disagreed, saying that “plain view” meant openly or in public.
Attorney Dan Klau didn’t work on the case, but explained the prosecution’s side.
“In the voyeurism statute, it's just really not clear. And, I think that one of the arguments that the prosecution has which is better in my opinion than the defendant, is that the term ‘in plain view’ is ambiguous. The public policy argument from the prosecution side is that a man and a woman ought to be able to have sexual relations within the privacy of their own bedroom without worrying about some recording being made and eventually, perhaps, ending up on the Internet,” he said.
The trial court agreed with Westcott and dismissed the charges against the defendant.
Westcott said the decision is correct under the law and consistent with today’s picture-happy society.
“Anyone who’s not aware of how easy and simply they could be recorded is probably not up to speed with just the frank reality of the times,” Westcott said.