A nurse who admitted to hiding a camera in a staff gym shower at University of Alberta Hospital received a two-year suspended sentence on Tuesday. He’s also prohibited from having a recording device.
Jason Soundara, 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of voyeurism in June.
A suspended sentence means the defendant will serve a period of probation and have a criminal record, but won’t serve jail time.
The sentence means Soundara must remain in Alberta, attend counselling and cannot go to the University of Alberta Hospital. He’s allowed to own a smartphone but cannot use it to take photos or videos.
The Crown was seeking six months in custody and two years of probation. Crown prosecutor Marisa Anderson argued the act showed a high degree of planning and deliberation and was “predatory” in nature. She said the sentencing should send a strong message in this digital age.
The defence was seeking a two-year probation with no time behind bars. Defence lawyer Dan Nagase said the sentence should take into account this was not a public change room. Nagase argued the act was not thought out, naive and unsophisticated. Nagase said Soudara has sought out counselling and the incident happened during a difficult time in his life when he was struggling with his sexual orientation.
In November 2016, a notice was posted by management of The Pulse Generator at the University of Alberta Hospital Employee Fitness and Recreation Centre, stating a camera was in place from Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. until Nov. 28 at 9 a.m., when it was discovered and removed. In that 16-hour window, seven men were captured on the camera.
The statement said the camera installed looked like a wall outlet and was stuck to the wall underneath a soap dispenser; it contained a five-day rechargeable battery with an SD card to store video.
The camera was discovered by a man in the shower; it was turned over to hospital security and then Edmonton police.
Soundara was supposed to be sentenced in September but the decision was delayed.
Soundara worked as a nurse at the hospital emergency room at the time. An Alberta Health Services spokesperson said he is no longer an AHS employee.
Pulse Generator operates employee fitness centres at the U of A, Grey Nuns and Misericordia hospitals. Security measures were increased after the incident.
— With files from Global’s Kim Smith, Julia Wong and Karen Bartko