Monday, June 09, 2008

Scottish lawyer of 27 years filmed women in ladies washroom

Nasty story this one ... what's happening in the legal profession these days ? personal standards and morals dropping quicker than some advocates trousers in shopping centres ?

BBC News reports :

Lawyer hid camera in ladies' loo

A solicitor has admitted hiding a video camera inside a ladies' toilet cubicle and secretly filming female staff.

Stirling Sheriff Court heard that Peter Fitzpatrick, 49, put the device into a cardboard box within the cubicle at law firm Muirhead Buchanan in Stirling.

The father-of-two, who has been a solicitor for 27 years, was caught after a secretary noticed a hole in the box was pointing at the pedestal.

Fitzpatrick, of Rutherglen, is due to be sentenced next month.

The court was told that the accused filmed female members of staff between 7-14 March, 2007.

The toilet, which was previously used to store cardboard boxes and was located next door to Fitzpatrick's office, was used as a toilet after being cleared out.

On opening the box she found a video cassette recorder with a tape in it - Fiscal depute Kate Mulligan

The accused's camera was discovered by a female secretary after a box unexpectedly reappeared in the cubicle with a hole in it.

Prosecutor Kate Mulligan told the court: "She picked it up and it felt heavy.

"On opening the box she found a video cassette recorder with a tape in it."

Upon leaving the cubicle, the secretary encountered Fitzpatrick who said he would look into the discovery.

When nothing happened, the secretary's boyfriend phoned the accused and called for the police to be informed.

Sexual element

Ms Mulligan added: "After this phone call, the accused invited the secretary to accompany him into his office.

"He closed the door and said something similar to 'I confess, it was me'.

"The secretary understood that he meant it had been him who had concealed the camera in the toilet, at which point, she became very distressed."

Officers interviewed Fitzpatrick at his home in Glasgow's south side and seized computer and video equipment.

He pled guilty to causing a breach of the peace by hiding the camera in the third-floor toilet and filming female members of staff using the facility.

Defence agent David Hall said he accepted there was a significant sexual element to the crime.

Sheriff Wylie Robertson placed Fitzpatrick on the sex offenders register and deferred sentence to allow background reports into his suitability to perform community service.

A spokesman for the law firm said: "Mr Fitzpatrick is no longer with the firm and we are glad the matter has been resolved."

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