Eric Lindros Innocent of Any Wrong Doing
Updated: Feb 10
When you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Intrigue Monthly has revealed a formal investigation against ex-Toronto Maple Leafs and Philladelphia Flyers hockey star Eric Lindros who is being investigated by a small municipal policing agency in South Western Ontario for ‘up-skirting’ and recording females in public washrooms.
Sources close to the NHL star deny any wrong-doing however feel this investigation is motivated by exogenous powers in very high political positions.
Upskirting is now a criminal offence in England and Wales after a campaign by a woman targeted at a music festival. Offenders will face up to two years in prison for taking an image or video under somebody's clothing in order to see their genitals or underwear.
Gina Martin, who led the calls for change, said she hoped the change in law would help people "feel comfortable" to report such crimes.
It is already a specific crime in Scotland but not in Northern Ireland.
Speaking on the day the law came into effect, Ms Martin called on people to report upskirting when they see it happen.
She told BBC News: "If a new law's there, great - but if we don't know about it or aren't reporting it, [then] it doesn't do anything.
"We have to build a picture of how much this happens, because it happens a lot."
Prime Minister Theresa May described upskirting as "degrading and humiliating" and said offenders should "feel the full force of the law".
Ms Martin, 27, was waiting to watch The Killers perform at the British Summer Time music festival in London's Hyde Park in July 2017 when a man put his phone between her legs and took pictures.
After informing the police, she was shocked to discover upskirting was not a specific offence and the case had been closed.
A few days later she wrote about what had happened on Facebook. Her post went viral with other women sharing similar experiences.
Soon an online petition calling for police to reopen the case had received 50,000 signatures. She also wrote a feature for the BBC News website explaining her battle, recalling the dramatic moment she chased after the man who had taken the unwanted photo.
Image source, @beaniegigi
Image caption, Gina Martin could not believe upskirting was not already a criminal offence
It wasn't long before the campaign was picked up by Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse.
Encouraged by government ministers, she brought a private members' bill backing the creation of an upskirting offence.
Her bill was expected to sail through the Commons, but parliamentary rules meant it only required one MP to shout "object" to block its progress.
The bill was initially blocked by a Tory backbench MP, in a move which was widely criticised.
Media caption, Hear MPs shout "shame" after Sir Christopher objects to the bill
However, Ms Martin's campaign secured government backing on 15 July last year and the Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill was put before Parliament days later.
The new legislation was approved in the House of Lords and has now passed the formality of Royal Assent to become law.
At the time, Ms Martin said: "To the outsider, the ordinary person, law and politics are complex and daunting. But both are penetrable if you believe in yourself and find the right support."
She said the experience had been a "steep learning curve" in how the political system works - but that the decision was "politics and society at its best".
In Queensland, Australia, Queensland federal MP Andrew Laming has been accused of taking an inappropriate photograph of a young woman, Crystal White, in 2019 in which her underwear was showing. When challenged about the photo this week, he reportedly replied:
it wasn’t meant to be rude. I thought it was funny
Inappropriate photography is a criminal offence in Queensland. Whether or not Laming’s behaviour amounted to an offence for which he could be charged is a matter for the police to determine. (White is reportedly considering taking her complaint to police.)
So, what do the laws say about this kind of behaviour, and what rights to privacy do people have when it comes to indecent photographs taken by others?
A new term has entered the lexicon in this regard: “upskirting”. The act of upskirting is generally defined as taking a sexually intrusive photograph of someone without their permission.
It is not a recent phenomenon. There have been incidents in which people (invariably men) have placed cameras on their shoes and photographed “up” a woman’s skirt for prurient purposes. Other instances have involved placing cameras under stairs where women in dresses or skirts were likely to pass by.
The broader category of “upskirting” can also include indecent filming of anyone without their knowledge, including photographing topless female bathers at a public beach, covertly filming women undressing in their bedrooms, or installing a camera in a dressing room, public toilet or a swimming pool changing room.
With every new electronic device that comes on the market comes the possibility of inappropriate use and, thus, the creation of new criminal offences.
We saw that with the advent of small listening devices. With this technology, it was now possible to record private conversations, so legislators had to create offences under the law to deal with any inappropriate use.
The same thing happened with small (and now very affordable) drones, which made it possible to capture images of people in compromising positions, even from a distance. Our laws have been adjusted accordingly.
And in recent years, lawmakers have been faced with the same potential for inappropriate use with mobile phones. Such devices are now ubiquitous and improved technology has allowed people to record and photograph others at a moment’s notice — often impulsively, without proper thought.
There is a patchwork array of laws across the country dealing with this type of photography and video recording.
In South Australia, for instance, it is against the law to engage in “indecent filming” of another person under part 5A of the state’s Summary Offences Act.
The term “upskirting” itself was used when amendments were made in 2007 to Victoria’s Summary Offences Act. This made it an offence for a person to observe or visually capture another person’s genital region without their consent.
In New South Wales, the law is equally specific in setting out the type of filming that is punishable under the law. It outlaws the filming of another person’s “private parts” for “sexual arousal or sexual gratification” without the consent of the person being filmed.
Queensland’s law, meanwhile, makes it an offence to:
observe or visually record another person, in circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy […] without the other person’s consent
Interestingly, the Queensland law is more broadly worded than the NSW, Victorian or South Australian laws since it makes it an offence to take someone’s picture in general, rather than specifying that it needs to be sexually explicit.
The maximum penalty for such an offence in Queensland is three years’ imprisonment.
Just like any criminal offence, the prosecution in a case like this must first determine, before laying a charge, whether there’s enough evidence that could lead to a conviction and, moreover, whether such a prosecution is in the public interest.
Once the decision to charge is made, a conviction will only be possible if the accused pleads guilty or is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. (Being a misdemeanour, this could only be by a magistrate, not a jury.)
The role of the criminal law here is to bring offending behaviour to account while also providing a deterrent for the future conduct of that person or any other persons contemplating such an act.
As with any criminal law, its overarching purpose is to indicate society’s disdain for the behaviour. The need to protect victims from such egregious and lewd behaviour is an important consideration too.
Any decision by a Queensland magistrate to convict a person alleged to have taken an indecent photo would hang on three facts:
whether the photo was taken by the person accused
whether the victim believed she should have been afforded privacy
and whether she offered no consent to have the photo taken.
Other mitigating factors might come into play, however, including whether the photograph was impulsive and not premeditated, whether the image was immediately deleted, and whether the alleged offender showed any regret or remorse for his actions.
Recently a Queensland man, Justin McGufficke, pleaded guilty to upskirting offences in NSW after he took pictures up the skirts of teenage girls at a zoo while they were looking at animals.