Peeping-tom sports coach installed spy camera in girls’ changing room, gets suspended sentence

Man, 43, is childcare centre director whose name is not being published by court order • 9-month prison sentence suspended for two years

John Belushi in the 1978 film Animal House, taking a closer look at cheerleader Mandy Pepperidge
John Belushi in the 1978 film Animal House, taking a closer look at cheerleader Mandy Pepperidge

A peeping-tom sports coach this morning admitted in court to having installed hidden spy cameras in his all-girl team’s changing rooms.

Magistrate Claire-Louise Stafrace heard how the coach installed spy cameras in his team’s changing rooms and toilet. The court imposed a ban on the publication of the man's name in order to prevent the identification of the victims

Prosecuting police inspector John Spiteri added that the man, who for good measure is also the director of a childcare centre, had also tried to persuade some of the girls to try on a new bra-less sports-top design.

The prosecution exhibited the camera equipment, together with four pen drives and a computer hard drive. The court was told that the footage they contained did not appear to have been transmitted, but was probably intended solely for the accused’s personal use.

The man’s 17 victims, who are all between 23 and 28 years old, had not been aware that they were being filmed, the inspector explained.

The manner in which the crime had come to light did not emerge in this morning’s sitting.

The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to harassment and stalking, dabbing his eyes with a tissue as he did so.

The court found the man guilty on his own admission and handed him a 9-month prison sentence suspended for two years, as well as ordering him to undergo psychiatric treatment.

A one-year protection order was issued against the man in favour of each individual girl. He was warned that failure to obey will result in a fine of €300 for every person molested.

The court also ordered the destruction of the offending data.

Lawyer Kris Busietta defended the accused. Lawyer Andrew Grima appeared parte civile.

The court prohibited the publication of the names of all parties involved in the case.