An unknown number of customers at a Winnipeg auto-repair shop were secretly being recorded while they used the public washroom on a camera hidden by an employee.
Arcel Gagnon, 37, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the rare charge of voyeurism for incidents that occurred at the Fountain Tire shop on Warman Road in late 2011 and early 2012. He was given a two-year suspended sentence with probation that includes sex offender counselling.
Gagnon admits concealing an iPhone inside a jacket and placing it on a hook inside the women's washroom for the purpose of videotaping. A male customer using the washroom — the men's washroom was out-of-order — made the discovery last April and immediately notified management. Unfortunately, the man also deleted videos on the phone, preventing police from ultimately determining how many people may have been victimized.
Gagnon was confronted and admitted to the offence, saying he did it out of "curiosity" and not a sexual purpose. He was promptly fired.
Gagnon was seeking a discharge Wednesday, which would allow him to maintain a clean criminal record. But provincial court Associate Chief Judge Janice leMaistre said a stronger message must be sent for this kind of disturbing offence.
"It would be contrary to the public interest to impose a discharge," she said.
Gagnon has written a letter of apology, which was filed with the court, expressing his remorse. LeMaistre said the offence would have a "significant impact" on those who were videotaped against their will. But she noted there is no evidence the videos were posted online or shared with anyone.