(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Klementiev)

Former London Teacher’s Voyeurism Acquittal Upheld

An acquittal on voyeurism charges has been upheld for a former London school teacher who used a camera pen to take videos of female students without their knowledge.

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the Crown’s appeal of the acquittal on Thursday, stating that while the video recordings were made for a sexual purpose, the students did not have reasonable expectation of privacy, which is a required for a conviction of a voyeurism offence.

Former teacher Ryan Jarvis was charged with voyeurism in June of 2011 after after another teacher repeatedly saw Jarvis making video recordings with the pen camera and reported it to the school’s principal, who then contacted the police.

The videos were taken secretly between 2010-2011, and were focused on the breasts and cleavage area of a number of female students who ranged in age between 14 and 18 years old.  The recordings, which included audio, were taken in various areas around the school while Jarvis was conversing with the students.  The videos range in duration from six seconds to just over two-and-a-half minutes.

In November 2015, Superior Court Justice Andrew Goodman found Jarvis not guilty of voyeurism, and ruled that while the students had a reasonable expectation of privacy, he found the videos were not sexually motivated. In is decision, Goodman stated that while the recordings were most likely made for a sexual purpose, “there may be other inferences to be drawn.”

In its decision on Thursday, the Court of Appeal said the trial judge failed to provide evidence of any other “inferences.”  The court also ruled the Justice Goodman was incorrect in finding that the students had a reasonable expectation of privacy, as they were engaging in normal school activities in the public areas of the school where there were many other students and teachers.

“The respondent breached his relationship of trust with his students by surreptitiously videoing them for a sexual purpose,” the court stated in its ruling. “However… in order for the surreptitious video recording of students for a sexual purpose to be criminal conduct within the offence of voyeurism, the Crown had to prove that the students were in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy.”