A Dapto man accused of using his mobile phone to inappropriately film females in Wollongong's Crown Street Mall has been found not guilty of two offences and had a further two thrown out.
Keiron Robert Hurt, 22, faced a hearing in Wollongong Local Court yesterday afternoon after pleading not guilty to two counts of filming a person's private parts without consent and two counts of behaving in an offensive manner in a public place.
Police alleged Mr Hurt walked closely behind multiple females in the mall on October 15 and again on October 19, each time using his mobile phone to film their buttocks.
However, Mr Hurt's lawyer, Jonathan Kearney, successfully argued to have the two filming charges dismissed after submitting to the court that the police notices ordering Hurt to attend court and outlining the charges against him were "defective".
Mr Kearney said the court attendance notice, referred to as a CAN, failed to disclose all the elements that made up the crime according to the law, including that the act had to have been done for sexual gratification.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart agreed and threw the two charges out.
Mr Kearney then argued there was a significant lack of evidence to uphold the remaining offensive behaviour charges, saying the CCTV footage showing Mr Hurt in the mall was simply not enough to prove the prosecution case.
While admitting that his client's behaviour was "odd", and "suspicious", he submitted the court could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Mr Hurt had been holding a phone at the time of the incident or that he was indeed filming.
"It's not clear there was a phone in his hand. However, if ... there was a phone in his hand, it's not clear what he was doing with it. There's no evidence before the court of footage ... taken at the time," Mr Kearney said.
"Your honour may have suspicions, but that doesn't make the grade when proving this beyond a reasonable doubt."
Mr Stoddart agreed Mr Hurt had been displaying "odd and strange" behaviour at the time, but on the evidence before the court he couldn't be fully satisfied that Mr Hurt had a mobile phone in his hand, or, if he did, what he was doing with it.
"While I'm very suspicious about what he was trying to do, that's insufficient at law to prove all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. Mr Hurt is therefore entitled to the benefit of that doubt," Mr Stoddart said.
He found Mr Hurt not guilty of the two offensive behaviour charges.