Former Nowra policeman Wayne West bowed his head in Wollongong Local Court as he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for filming his colleague's 12-year-old daughter as she showered.
West, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of filming a person in a private act without consent and one charge of possessing child abuse material and was sentenced today.
Magistrate Robert Walker said as a police officer, West should have known better than to film the daughter of the colleague he was staying with and possessing child abuse images.
In an assessment prepared for West's sentencing, West described his behaviour as a curiosity and not hurting anyone, something Magistrate Walker said he was taken aback by.
"I find that difficult to believe as a police officer," Magistrate Walker said.
In his sentencing, Magistrate Walker said he took into account West's lack of prior convictions but the seriousness of the offending required a jail sentence.
West was charged in 2021 with filming the girl as she showered.
After being arrested, police took West's mobile and other electronic devices on which they found child abuse material as well as additional pictures of the victim.
At the time, West was staying in a granny flat at the rear of his colleague's property after his marriage broke down.
West set up a GoPro in the shared bathroom in the main house which he used to film the victim while she was showering.
West also tried to film the victim with his mobile phone, when the victim spotted him and called her mother.
The victim and her mother then reported the incident at Nowra Police Station. Police arrested West later that day.
In a statement read to the court, the victim's mother said West's actions had a visible impact on her daughter.
The mother, who was also West's colleague, said she had seen her daughter's innocence and bubbly personality fade as she has matured and understood what happened. The feeling of safety, freedom of peace at home had also faded.
The victim's mother said she had experienced feelings of guilt, anger, confusion, mistrust and betrayal since the events occurred.
"These are some times while I have asked myself, how could you let this happen," the mother said.
"But when I replay the scenario, many people with the same heart would have done the same to help their friend and work colleague whose job is to uphold the law and protect the community."
The mother said she and her daughters would as a family forgive and move forwards.
"I hope and pray that the accused will seek counsel and forgiveness in his heart."
Magistrate Walker set a non parole period of nine months for West.
The Illawarra Mercury newsroom is funded by our readers. You can subscribe to support our journalism here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.