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Nurse given 2-year suspended sentence after hiding camera in U of A Hospital gym shower

Nurse given 2-year suspended sentence after hiding camera in gym shower
WATCH ABOVE: A nurse who hid a camera in a staff gym shower at the University of Alberta Hospital will serve a two-year suspended sentence. The judge took into account the 26-year-old is at little risk to the public and is seeking help. Kim Smith was in court for the decision.

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.

READ MORE: Hidden camera in U of A Hospital gym shower records 7 men, 1 person arrested: memo 

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.

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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.

In an agreed statement of facts, Soundara admitted to putting the camera in the male locker room shower. In a videotaped interview with police, Soundara said he did it “because he liked one of the males who frequently showers in the facility.”

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.

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Soundara was supposed to be sentenced in September but the decision was delayed.

READ MORE: Nurse who hid camera in U of A Hospital gym shower sentencing put over 

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