A BENDIGO man who placed a hidden camera in his stepdaughter’s bedroom to produce child pornography videos has been jailed.
The secret surveillance filmed the teenage girl in her bed and bathroom between 2007 and 2012.
The 53-year-old stepfather, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was yesterday sentenced to two years jail for charges of producing and possessing child pornography, and stalking. He immediately appealed the sentence.
The Bendigo Magistrates Court heard the man concealed the camera in an air conditioning vent in the ceiling above his stepdaughter’s bed.
He catalogued the footage into discs that showed the victim in various states of undress.
Police seized computer hard drives and discs from the man’s home in June 2012. At least 12 videos showed the girl nude, when she was aged between 16 and 17-years-old.
The man originally pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed he had installed the security camera out of “concern for his stepdaughter”.
Prosecuting, Sergeant Simon Richer said that was clearly not his intention. He said it was a case of exploitation for his own perverse desires.
“He placed his own sexual gratification as more important than the victim’s basic right to privacy,” he said.
“The fact that he was a person you would expect to protect her makes it even more troubling.”
“This offending will live with the victim for the rest of her life.”
The court heard the camera was discovered by the victim’s brother, after he suspected the stepfather of spying on the young girl.
The offender was due to stand trial but changed his plea to guilty last Thursday.
Sergeant Richer said the case has placed a huge amount of stress on the victim and her family, who had believed they would be forced to give evidence in court.
Defence counsel David Hallowes said his client had an unblemished record, with no prior convictions.
He argued that he has also suffered anxiety since the offending, resigning from his job and moving to Queensland last year.
Magistrate Richard Wright said the offending was extremely serious and was “disturbing” for the fact it had been considered and planned over a long period of time.
“It is a massive breach of trust,” he said. “It is cynical exploitation.”
The offender stood visibly shaking in court as Magistrate Wright ordered him to serve two-years jail with a minimum 16 months non-parole. He will also be placed on the sex offender registry for 15 years.