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Hostel owner spied on showering

Published: 8:47AM Friday December 05, 2008 Source: NZPA

Central Otago hostel owner Phillip Anderson filmed his female guests for a year through a two-way mirror he installed in their bathroom, a court has been told.

When he finally felt remorseful about what he was doing, he ripped the camera out and destroyed the tapes - except for a two-hour highlights package which he watched during pornography evenings with a friend.

Anderson, 44, who was running a backpackers hostel at Tarras, near Wanaka, has been sentenced in Alexandra District Court to 150 hours' community work and nine months' supervision, The Southland Times reports.

He earlier pleaded guilty to possession of an intimate visual recording.

The court was told Anderson and a friend installed the camera behind a two-way mirror in the bathroom of the hostel about four years ago.

It was hooked up to a recorder in Anderson's bedroom and filmed both the shower and the toilet of the hostel.

When women went into the bathroom Anderson would activate the camera.

He held on to a highlights tape which contained two hours of footage of 15 women showering.

He watched the tape many times with his friend during pornography nights, says police prosecutor Tim Hambleton.

Discovery of the tape, which Anderson kept in a safe, led to his downfall.

When the game was finally up, Anderson admitted to police what he did was "disgusting and sick".

Defence lawyer Tim Cadogan says the victims are unknown and have no knowledge of the offence.

He says Anderson had no previous convictions but his friend had been in court for very serious sex offending.

Anderson is "extremely remorseful" about his behaviour and no longer operates a backpackers at the address, Cadogan says.

Judge Paul Keller says the recording was premeditated and Anderson had kept the tape for a long time.

He ordered Anderson to undertake counselling as directed.