A 21-year-old man got caught filming up an unsuspecting woman’s skirt in the middle of a busy town centre store.
Harshit Garcha shot the video while he walked around Winners in Lansdowne Centre.
Garcha was spotted by the store’s loss prevention officer approaching the woman before holding the camera under her skirt.
He was immediately arrested and confessed that he’d taken the footage in the hope of selling it on the Internet.
The video, Richmond Provincial Court heard, depicted the woman’s underwear and other areas of her body under the skirt.
The camera Garcha, now 23, was caught with on June, 2010, also contained dozens of similar videos shot under women’s skirts.
However, he claimed he didn’t shoot those videos and they must have been taken by the camera’s previous owner.
Garcha was charged with five counts of secretly observing or recording for a sexual purpose, but was eventually found guilty after a short trial of just one.
Sentencing Garcha to two years probation on Thursday, Judge Ron Fratkin described the crime as “insidious and alarming.”
Fratkin said the victim would not have known what was on Garcha’s mind and what kind of sexual offender she was dealing with.
“This can cause difficulties for people to rationalize,” he added.
“The (pre sentence report) states that he was ‘motivated by money’ … ‘but attracted to voyeurism.’
“I think he has a lack of understanding or is naive of what he was doing.”
Garcha’s lawyer, Gary Abrams, said that, should the footage have ended up doing the rounds on the Internet, the victim would not have been identifiable, even to herself.
He added that it would have been unlikely that the victim would even be looking on the Internet for such a photo anyway.
Requesting a conditional discharge for his client — in line with a similar offence in a different incident in the Aberdeen Mall — Abrams said Garcha now understands the consequences of his actions and accepts there will likely be negative publicity as a result.
“He has a stable home life and steady employment, with prospects,” Abrams said of his client, who hopes to become a welder.
Fratkin said it was irrelevant that the victim might not be identifiable in the footage, saying there was definite “harm, embarrassment and victimization,” of the individual.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t like it Mr. Garcha if it happened to you or a family member,” the judge told him.
Despite Crown counsel Brian MacFarlane asking for a fine and probation, Fratkin said the accused was worthy of a conditional sentence of just probation.
“If he fails, the Crown can take the appropriate action,” added the judge.
Garcha was also ordered to have no contact, direct or indirect, with the victim and was banned from all Winners stores in B.C.