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Student photographed woman in a changing cubicle

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Breaking News

A student who took a photograph of a woman as she changed in a leisure centre cubicle has been warned that he’s likely to end up on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

Postgraduate Hago Babikyan (25), held his i-phone in the gap between two cubicles and snapped the woman as she got dressed after a swim, Cupar Sheriff Court has heard.

But when confronted by staff he denied the allegation and walked off.

Babikyan, of Room 3, 54 Albany Park, St Andrews, admitted committing a breach of the peace at East Sands Leisure Centre, St Andrews, on December 6 last year by recording the woman performing a private act with the intention of looking at the image. He admitted that he was aware she was changing her clothes in a changing cubicle and took a photograph of her.

Depute fiscal Joanne Smith told the court that the woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was aged about 20. She was part of a group of volunteers who were helping visually-impaired people.

“At around 2pm she was in the pool assisting a visually-impaired female,” said Ms Smith.

“At the same time the accused and another male were swimming in the pool.

“She left the pool at around 2.45 and went into the changing area. At around the same time the accused and his companion left the pool and went into the changing area.

“She entered the cubicle next to his in order to get changed and while she was in there she saw an i-phone being held up at the gap between her cubicle and that of the accused.

“She said ‘do you want me to take that off you?’ and the phone disappeared from sight.”

Ms Smith said that the woman reported the incident to reception staff, who confronted the accused, but he denied it and walked off.

He was later traced and made a full admission, saying: ‘I feel embarrassed about this; I only took one picture then deleted it.’

He said he had not captured any nudity, and when asked why he had taken the photo he said it was to show it to his friends later.

Defence solicitor Gordon Fowler said his client, a first offender, had carried out the offence out of ‘stupidity’ and had almost immediately regretted it.

Deferring sentence until May 15 for reports, Sheriff Charles Macnair told Babikyan that in his view the offence contained a ‘significant sexual element’ but he would make the decision about whether he should be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register when he next appears.

 

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