September 2019

Upskirting case: Ex-government lawyer gets two-year community order

A former lawyer for the government has been given a two-year community order in what is one of the first convictions under the new law against upskirting.

54-year-old Daren Timson-Hunt, from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex, admitted one count of operating equipment beneath the clothing of another without consent, and was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Upskirting, which is when someone covertly takes a photograph or video underneath someone’s clothing with the intention of seeing their genitals, was made illegal earlier in the year.

According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Timson-Hunt becomes the fourth person convicted in separate cases since the new was introduced.

The charge against him said that he used his mobile phone “for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification” whilst he was at Embankment underground station in central London at around 9.25am on 1 July.

Prosecutor Katie Bryan said that the victim was on her way to a job interview when the incident happened.

Police Inspector Pete Scottow, who was a witness in a nearby train, said he saw Timson-Hunt near the victim and that he “had his phone in between his legs with his thumb resting on the edge of the device”.

He said it appeared that Timson-Hunt was using the side buttons on his phone to take photographs up the victim’s skirt.

Shortly after, Timson-Hunt, the victim and Mr Scottow got off the train at Embankment, where the defendant was seen standing “close behind” her on the stairs.

Ms Bryan said that the inspector told the victim: “Excuse me I’m an inspector of Scotland Yard, I think this man has been taking pictures of you”.

Timson-Hunt was said to be “shocked” at his actions when confronted, and was later arrested.

The defendant admitted what he had done and apologised for this actions.

He added: “I don’t know why I did it, I’ve never done anything like this before, is this something I can take a caution for?”.

After the defendant’s phone was examined, it was found he had taken two videos of his victim – one of which showed her underwear.

In a statement read out to the court, the victim said: “I felt incredibly violated, I find it very intrusive that he could do this and it left me feeling extremely annoyed and made me lose focus for my interview.”

The victim added that the incident had changed her behaviour, saying she has not worn any skirts or dresses since it happened.

In sentencing, chair of the bench Anne Boda said the case was an “extremely unpleasant incident” that had caused a “long lasting affect” on the victim.

Timson-Hunt’s community order will last two years, and includes a court ordered 35-day programme, 30 days of rehabilitation and 60 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to join the sex-offenders register for five years and pay £175 in court costs and victim surcharge.