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Explanatory Memorandum to Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

Article 71: Voyeurism

7.142.Article 71 makes it an offence, under paragraph (1) for a person, (A), to observe, for the purpose of his own sexual gratification, another person doing a private act, for instance by looking through a window or peephole at someone having sexual intercourse, where A knows the person observed does not consent to being looked at for this purpose.

7.143.Paragraph (2) covers a person (A) operating equipment with the intention of enabling another person, for his sexual gratification, to observe a third person (B), doing a private act, where A knows that B does not consent to being so viewed. This would cover, for example, a landlord (A) operating a webcam to allow people on the internet for their sexual gratification to view live images of his tenant (B) getting undressed, if A knew that B did not consent to this.

7.144.Paragraph (3) covers a person (A) recording another person (B) doing a private act with the intention of looking at the recording for his own sexual gratification, or intending other people to look, for their sexual gratification, at the recording, and where he knows that B does not consent to the recording of that act with that intention. This would therefore cover the person (A) who secretly films someone (B) masturbating in B's bedroom to show to others for their sexual gratification. Proof that the intention was the sexual gratification of others could be derived from, for example, the fact that the image was posted on a pornographic website, or in a pornographic magazine. A will be caught by the offence whether or not those looking at the image know that the person filmed did not consent to being filmed with that intention.

7.145.Paragraph (4) would cover someone who, for example, drilled a spy-hole or installed a two-way mirror in a house with the intention of spying on someone for sexual gratification or allowing others to do so. A would be caught even if the peephole or mirror was discovered before it was used.

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