Bendigo mobile phone snapper convicted

A Bendigo man who secretly photographed women in the change-rooms of a Bendigo clothes store has been placed on a community corrections order and will receive sex offender training for the second time.

Michael Warren, 26, was convicted in the Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday on one charge of using an optical surveillance device and marijuana possession. Warren – who has priors for rape and indecent assault – had used his mobile phone to take pictures of women getting changed in a dressing room on March 25 last year. 

Police believe the pictures were taken at the Kmart store in Lansell Plaza, Kangaroo Flat.

Four pictures of partially clothed women were found when police seized Warren’s phone during a search of his home in December last year. In a previous plea hearing, Warren’s defence lawyer Peter Baker said his client had relatively low intelligence, cognitive difficulties, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse problems.

Mr Baker asked for an intellectual disability to be taken into account in sentencing by way of a justice plan.

But Magistrate Jennifer Tregent said when Warren was assessed he was found not to have an intellectual disability as defined by the Disability Act.

Ms Tregent said the assessment did find Warren needed drug and alcohol counselling.

She said it also showed Warren had a lack of empathy for his victims.

“I am worried because the report says he maintains his innocence despite pleading guilty,” she said.

“He said someone came in and stole his camera.

“There’s a lack of victim empathy in terms of his behaviour.

“I think it’s best to deal with the matter by way of rehabilitation.

“You can’t go on denying it and acting like it was someone else’s problem.”

Ms Tregent placed Warren on a 12-month community corrections order with 100 hours of unpaid community work. She also imposed a $250 fine with conviction.

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