A Milton man has admitted he used a hidden camera to secretly take photos of teenage girls for his own sexual gratification.
Darryl Robert Gama, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of filming a person's private parts without consent during a closed court hearing at Milton Local Court on Thursday, October 10.
Gama had previously pleaded not guilty to three charges, however, two charges were withdrawn in a plea deal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
According to agreed facts tendered to the court Gama was at a public park at the eastern end of Lake Conjola Entrance Road on the afternoon of December 28 last year when he saw several teenage girls nearby.
Several teenage girls were in bikinis swimming, sunbathing and jumping off a nearby jetty into the lake.
Gama was seated alone and people saw him acting suspiciously. He had his camera seated next to him and at some point he covered the camera with his hat, leaving the lens pointing out from underneath the brim, facing the girls.
Facts stated Gama adjusted the camera's flip-screen and started pressing buttons whilst the camera was still next to him on the bench and covered by the hat.
After witnesses watched him for a period of time, they approached Gama. The camera was still covered by the hat when they confronted him.
At first he denied taking photos and tried to leave the area. However, Gama turned on the camera and it was taken by a member of the public who scrolled through the images.
The witness was "alarmed to see photos" of the girls in the area taken that day and was able to identify the girls, who were still in the area. A number of other witnesses also viewed the images.
According to the facts, Gama had between 25 and 35 photos of teenage girls wearing bikinis in the jetty area of Lake Conjola.
Most of the photos were zoomed in on the girls' private parts and there were a number of photos of the same victim in her bikini from different angles.
A witness detained Gama and police were called. He had a Samsung phone that he was using while waiting for police. The witnesses took it off him fearing he was deleting evidence. They placed the camera and phone on a picnic table in Gama's presence.
Police attended and Gama agreed to meet them at Ulladulla Police Station. During questioning he acknowledged his conduct was "inappropriate" and he took the photos for his sexual "gratification".
He told police he intended to go back home and view the pictures on his TV. He said he doesn't sell or post the pictures to anyone.
In relation to the photographs of the teenagers, he said it was hard to tell their ages, especially if they're in a bikini. He said he was ashamed for taking the photos for his own satisfaction.
He stated he was upset because the girls were obviously upset "even though they were wearing highly revealing - they wear those to be seen to be noticed, they obviously don't want these images to be spread on the internet, they have no control over it basically".
He deleted the photos and handed over the memory card to police. Facts stated witnesses were "greatly offended and disgusted" when they saw the images. The victims, who were unaware and never gave consent, felt violated and offended.
Police examined Gama's mobile phone and there were images and videos contained on the phone which indicated his "tendency" to take photographs of women's private parts and in swimwear without their knowledge or consent.
Magistrate Gabriel Fleming sentenced him to a 18 month community corrections order, where he must comply with his doctor's recommendations for mental health treatment, and fined him $3,500.