Hamilton man jailed for photographing unsuspecting women in shower

Anthony Zane Gareth Baker was creative in the way he photographed unsuspecting women who were showering or getting changed in his home.

Sometimes he would hold his cellphone up through a gap in the sliding bathroom door that was just big enough to get a picture.

Other times he waited for an unsuspecting victim to get changed and used his phone to pap her through the curtains in a bedroom.

At varying stages and on “numerous” occasions between January 2020 and April 2021, Baker covertly took photos of the five women, who all have permanent name suppression.

But it was only on the morning that he was about to be jailed for 10 months in the Hamilton District Court, that the 33-year-old accepted he took the photos, despite accepting a sentence indication in July last year.

Through his lawyer Jonathon Myers, he handed Judge William Lawson a letter of remorse as he was about to learn his fate.

The judge noted it was “too little too late” but he agreed to issue a small discount for its contents.

Police prosecutor Melanie Feist told Judge Lawson one of the six victims was so horrified by Baker’s actions she couldn’t bring herself to write a victim impact statement.

“She has found the offending against her harrowing and it’s re-traumatising for her when she has to re-live it.”

She said the remaining victims spoke of how they now lived in a state of “hypervigilance” regarding their actions and were isolating themselves.

“Their behaviours are now being severely curtailed through the defendants offending against them where they’re now taking means to effectively isolate themselves from society and males.

“Also, hypervigilance in terms of fearing that they’re being watched because their privacy was invaded when the defendant took photos of them in varying states of undress in the bathroom.”

She said the investigating officer had also found “a large number” of other images on Baker’s phone that were deemed inappropriate but not leading to charges due to the inability to identify the victims.

Police had asked for the phone to be destroyed. Feist also noted that Baker could not be registered on the sex offender’s database as his offences were not qualifying offences for him to be registered.

Myers said despite his client’s denial in taking the photographs, he had since spoken to him “and he does accept now that he took the photos”.

“His advice to me is that he has had trouble accepting in himself what he has done and now is the time when he’s finally been able to accept [it].

“[Baker] hopes that, better late than never, if it can assist his victims in terms of them knowing he accepts responsibility.”

He hoped that “everybody can now try and move on and heal and also so he can get the help that he needs which he will only get once he accepts what’s he’s done”.

“Mr Baker has been appraised of the comments in the victim impact statements and feels a heavy sense of responsibility for what the victims have experienced.”

Myers accepted that his client was awaiting sentence relating to shooting at boy racers who were terrorising his neighbourhood at the time of this offending, but Judge Lawson said he would not issue an uplift for his behaviour.

In April 2021, a frustrated Baker was sentenced to six months’ community detention and 12 months’ intensive supervision after using his .22 rifle to shoot at cars as they drove past his Rukuhia property in June 2020.

Judge Lawson said it was clear in the victim impact statements that Baker’s behaviour had a “significant impact” on the young women.

“This offending does … and it will, impact these young people for some time and you need to be aware that your behaviour, in terms of offending, can have a significant impact on them in the future.

Judge Lawson said he would have sentenced Baker to home detention however he didn’t have a suitable property.

He instead jailed him for 10 months but granted him leave to apply for home detention if he found a suitable property.

The victims were all granted suppression of their names and any identifying details.

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