Cleaner who spied on showering nurses walks from court
A GROUNDSMAN who planted a hidden camera in shower cubicles at Stanthorpe Hospital has walked from court with a fine.
Peter Daniel McLellan pleaded guilty to hiding the camera in the Stanthorpe Hospital nurses' quarters, placing it above different cubicles using velcro dots.
The 42-year-old man appeared alone in Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday, a year after another hospital cleaner discovered the camera concealed in a fire alarm.
McLellan's lawyer Kevin Rose said while his client admitted to placing the camera in the shower cubicles, he only did so to keep an eye on his fellow workers.
"He placed the camera to catch fellow employees that were bludging on him," Mr Rose said.
However, during sentencing Magistrate Robert Walker said it was difficult to ignore the possibilty of sexual motives.
"Unsurprisingly, the impression that came to mind was that the offending was for the purpose of sexual gratification," he said.
Queensland Health told police up to 25 staff, mostly female, lived in the quarters during the time of the filming.
McLellan admitted to police he moved the camera "five or six times" in five weeks and the camera was turned on after each move.
A police search of the hospital's garden shed revealed a TV and USB cables police believe were used to view the footage.
However, no recordings were found when police searched McLellan's computers.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Steve de Lissa said in the absence of any footage, the prosecution could not contest McLellan's intent was simply that of watching his fellow workers.
"I can't dispel the argument that it was there for the purpose the defendant said it was," Sergeant de Lissa said.
References were tendered to the court, including three from Stanthorpe Hospital nurses, which according to Mr Rose, held his client "in high regard".
Mr Walker acknowledged that if the prosecution had proved McLellan's intent was to spy on nurses for his own sexual fruition, he faced a lengthy time behind bars.
"This is a challenging case," he said.
"In the end it's not disputed that your motivation might have been for some misguided pursuit of concern about the behaviour of other employees in your area of responsibility in the hospital."
McLellan was fined $1500 and no conviction was recorded.