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Former airline steward’s secret camera sounds a warning

April 8, 2019 Headline News No Comments

The case of a Sydney-based peeping former airline steward serves to illustrate the alarming ease with which accommodation hosts or landlords can hide miniature cameras in rental properties to record the intimate activities of guests or tenants.

Last week in Sydney, a former airline steward and unit manager who hid secret spy cameras in the bathrooms of an inner-city Sydney apartment block was sentenced to 28 months jail.

James Ernest Maxwell, 49, pleaded guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court to several charges, including intentionally recording intimate images without consent, filming a person in a private act without consent and filming a person’s private parts without consent, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The cameras were hidden in clocks and a wristwatch in bathrooms and a bedroom of two units in a Sydney building being leased by university students.

The Herald report on the case said the devices had filmed tenants having sex, using the toilet, masturbating and showering.

Maxwell’s legal aid lawyer told the court that Maxwell’s “extreme levels of remorse” for his crimes led him to quit his dream job as an airline steward.

The offending began, the court heard, after a Facebook advertisement for a spy camera popped up on Maxwell’s computer.

Maxwell had studied hotel management in Canada before moving to Australia in 2008, where he became a landlord for the property and began working as an airline steward.


Sentencing Maxwell, Magistrate Kate Thompson said the victims had no idea their most intimate moments “were being monitored and recorded for sexual arousal”. She said Maxwell’s crimes struck at the heart of personal integrity and dignity.

Maxwell received a non-parole period of 12 months and will be eligible for release in early April next year. 


Written by Peter Needham

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