A former top-ranking New Zealand naval official has gone on trial this week in Auckland for allegedly placing a hidden camera in the bathroom of the country’s embassy in Washington D.C.
Alfred Keating, 59, a commodore in the New Zealand navy, was working as a defense attache in the U.S. when a spy-cam was discovered in a unisex bathroom in July 2017, reports the Guardian. Before he resigned, Keating was one of his country’s most senior naval officials.
Keating is accused of making intimate recordings with the motion sensor camera that was found after it fell out of a radiator. A man initially found the camera on the floor, and not knowing what it was, placed it on top of the heating device before another man spotted it and handed it over to security, reports the New Zealand Herald. The camera, which reportedly was linked to Keating through DNA found on the memory card, was sent back to New Zealand for further investigation.
Henry Steele, the case’s prosecutor, said that 700 deleted files and 20 existing files were found on the camera, including a video of a hand in a blue latex glove activating the device, according to the Herald. Steele also said that CCTV footage captured a man entering the bathroom around the time the camera was placed there, and that Keating’s laptop showed searches for Brickhouse Security, the camera’s manufacturer, and for instructions on how to “set up” the gadget, the Herald reports.
Keating denies wrongdoing. “The evidence doesn’t tell you who did it and it certainly doesn’t tell you it was Mr. Keating,” said Ron Mansfield, Keating’s lawyer.
Given Keating’s position, he was under diplomatic immunity while stationed in the U.S., so he is being tried in his home country.
The trial, which is expected to last about two weeks, comes amid an upsurge of spy-cam crimes across the globe, including the recent discovery of the activities of hundreds of hotel guests being live-streamed in South Korea, and the arrest of a tourist in Sydney for allegedly secretly filming his hostel roommate in the shower.