Train 'Peeping Tom' escapes justice after 'upskirting' found 'legal'



A 'Peeping Tom' train pervert has been told he did not violate state law by taking 'upskirt' pictures of female commuters - because they were not nude at the time.

Michael Robertson was arrested in August 2010 for using his mobile phone to take pictures and videos up skirts of women on the subway.

But a ruling by Justice Margot Botsford at Boston's Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts states that filming or photographing a person who is nude or partly nude without their knowledge is against the law – but that rule does not apply to people who are fully clothed, reports the Mirror.

The Supreme Judicial Court overruled a lower court that had upheld charges against Robertson.

According to the Guardian, the court said in its ruling: "A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is 'partially nude,' no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing.

"State law does not apply to photographing (or videotaping or electronically surveilling) persons who are fully clothed and, in particular, does not reach the type of upskirting that the defendant is charged with attempting to accomplish on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)."

The court added that while the action should be illegal, it currently is not in the way the state law is written.

According to the Boston Magazine, Suffolk District Attorney's Office said they would work hard with the legislature to make sure the appropriate language was put in place to protect women against 'Peeping Toms'.

Jake Wark, spokesman from the Suffolk DA's Office, told the paper: "Since the high court found otherwise, we're urging the Legislature to act with all due haste in amending the statute to protect every person's right to privacy under his or her own clothes."

Gina Scaramella, executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Centre, said "upskirting" is sexual harassment. "The law has an important purpose in defining for society what is, and is not, appropriate or harmful," she said. "This is clearly a case where the law needs to catch up to technology and intent since reasonable people would feel that this behaviour of 'upskirting' is a violation and should not be permissible in any setting."

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