A Current Affair Segment "Forgot" to Mention that Surveillance of a Spouse is an Act of Domestic Violence and Quite Possibly a Crime
Posted: 28th April 2015
Posted in: News
Posted by: Dean Evans, Partner
When Would Conducting Surveillance as Occurred on A Current Affair Cross a Line???
After getting home from work, I managed to catch the tail end of A Current Affair’s piece concerning the conduct of surveillance of spouses to determine infidelity.
Unfortunately for Mr and Mrs Joe & Susie Public, A Current Affair failed to mention a number of vital pieces of information which people should carefully consider and get some advice about before they run off to conduct surveillance like that which occurred in the segment.
People should be made aware that:-
- Conducting surveillance of a person without their consent is an act of Domestic Violence under Queensland law.
- Therefore, people who wish to avoid being made the subject of Domestic Violence proceedings and regulatory Orders, should not consider conducting surveillance without concise legal advice taken from their own lawyer pertaining to their own factual history.
- People who are made the subject of Domestic Violence Orders risk being prosecuted for the criminal offence of breaching a Domestic Violence Order (and we consider that given the sensitivity of this topic in the media, sentences for this crime will be likely to be soon more severe than previously – i.e. in our view a crackdown is coming starting in the Magistrates Court).
- In addition to Domestic Violence issues, if the person under surveillance had an expectation of privacy, for example, when occupying his or her own residence there ought be an expectation that a person’s home life would be free from any surveillance and would be private, the person conducting surveillance or contracting for it to be undertaken, commits an offence pursuant to Sections 227A and 227B of Queensland’s Criminal Code and Section 43 of the Invasion of Privacy Act (Qld).
For this reason spouses and the surveillance personnel working for private investigation agencies should be very careful about their conduct and should obtain legal advice before leaping to adopt the widespread use of surveillance as reported by A Current Affair.
If you are a victim of surveillance, consider your options and whether you should obtain advice concerning reporting the matter to police or bringing Domestic Violence proceedings against the perpetrator (the latter being proceedings available only if your spouse was involved as the person conducting the surveillance or had contracted for it to occur).
Unfortunately, it doesn’t often make for a good story if you need to add warnings which detract from the headline.