*2024 Results: Approx. 99% of Mark Zinck's clients avoided a criminal record (conviction) for charges of theft, fraud, assault, mischief and threats.

Criminal Code Voyeurism (s. 162) charges after sending or posting nude images, possibly by mistake

What to do if you get charged with voyeurism by the police under s. 162 of the Criminal Code after sharing nudes online or sending them via text messages or social media.

People commonly get charged with voyeurism (s. 162) in Canada after posting or sharing private nude images of others, which happens both intentionally and unintentionally. Criminal Code voyeurism charges may be laid on their own, or in addition to charges for publishing an intimate image without consent charges under Section 162.1 (1) depending on whether the images were sent only to the victim themself, publicly posted, or sent to other third parties.

The pictures are sometimes sent or posted accidentally. It is surprisingly easy to send, share, or upload the wrong file to the wrong place. If it is an image of someone (screenshot, sext pic, upskirt, etc) you created in secret and aren’t supposed to have, you may be accused of voyeurism if discovered by the police. If the person in the images or a third party reports it to the police, they will investigate and charge the accused under s. 162 for voyeurism. They may also get a court order (warrant) to search the electronic devices of the accused.

Alleged victims of voyeurism may be unaware that there are nude photos/videos of them floating around the internet or being shared via direct messages for quite some time before charges are laid by the police.

Whether they are told by a friend, stumble upon it themselves, or use face recognition technology like PimEyes to search for and find it, the victim is often shocked to find their nudes online.

By the time they become aware of the existence and distribution of the infringing media it may be too late to stop it from continuing to spread throughout the internet. Since voyeurism is by definition a surreptitious recording, the victim has no idea such media even exists let alone is being shared online. Distribution is considered an aggravating factor by the courts at sentencing. Voyeurism carries a maximum possible sentence of 5 years in prison.

Voyeurism charges are laid both prior to and after infringing media leaks online. Sometimes the pressing of the charges and seizure of electronic devices occurs before they are shared and distributed on servers throughout the world (far beyond the reach of Canadian law).

It is in the victim’s best interest to report voyeurism to the police because it may help them obtain a court order demanding that internet hosting servers and other ISPs take down the infringing media. It can also sometimes stop it from being leaked online in the first place.

Voyeurism is often reported to the police by victims who want to remove their nude images from the internet, or prevent them from being posted online or otherwise shared.

The most effective thing a victim can do to try to get nudes taken down is obtain a court order that the images should be removed or that they are illegal to possess or share. A court removal order can sometimes be obtained by adult victims in adult voyeurism cases (especially with a finding of guilt in criminal court). This process is much easier in voyeurism cases involving child victims since child pornography is already deemed illegal in most countries, but adult victims also may have options for court ordered removals.

If a court order is made, the victim can then provide it to internet hosting servers and demand the removal of the images. If the server is located in Canada, they are legally bound to abide by court orders and can face significant consequences for not doing so (including contempt, civil lawsuits, etc.). For servers located outside of Canada it may not be possible to have the images taken down even with a court order. Most large tech companies in the U.S. will voluntarily follow Canadian court orders however as a matter of policy (even if they may not be legally obligated to).

Since having a court order helps get intimate images removed, victims may be motivated to report their experience to the police in hopes criminal charges will lead to a court removal order. They may also be motivated by the fact that they feel angry and violated about what happened. For some people the distribution of such personal images is extremely embarrassing. Some people feel ashamed and that their reputation has been irreversibly damaged.

Given the extent of emotional damage voyeurism causes to victims, criminal cases under s. 162 are prosecuted heavily in Ontario. Crowns and courts want to send a clear message of deterrence to the public.

Sharing and posting images and videos deemed to be voyeurism recordings is an aggravating factor in sentencing

Ontario Crown Attorneys and judges consider the distribution of voyeuristic images to be an extremely aggravating factor when sentencing offenders. From the perspective of the courts, the victim is essentially revictimized every time someone downloads or views the infringing media. Worse yet, sometimes the name and location of the victim is also posted online and distributed along with the nude pictures. Lengthy sentences may be handed out in such cases to both punish the accused and deter others from behaving similarly.

Even the mere fact that the images of the victim could have been, or could someday possibly be, posted online is considered to be an aggravating factor in sentencing. Courts in Ontario have held that the mental anguish accompanied by the possibility of distribution must be considered in sentencing offenders, even if no known distribution has actually occurred. In cases where distribution has actually happened (ie. also s. 162.1 (1) charges for distribution of intimate images) this will warrant a harsher sentence particularly if the distribution occurred intentionally.

If you or someone you want to help has been charged with voyeurism give us a call now at 647-228-5969 for a free no obligation case assessment.

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*2024 Results: the percentage of 99% of clients avoiding a criminal record (conviction) stated on this page is based solely on Lawyer Mark Zinck's personal representation of approximately 2000 criminal defence case clients as of the year 2024. Past results are not necessarily an indication of future results.


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   Criminal Information:

   We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice and services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
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  • Experienced, focused counsel