Online news

Customers filmed for months in restaurant toilets

A Dunedin waiter, over an eight-month period, videotaped restaurant patrons using the restroom, a court said.

Heath Ariquei Abdulrahman (29) was not so keen to be filmed himself, objecting to an Otago Daily Times app to take his picture.

The claim was dismissed yesterday by Judge Dominic Flatley of the Dunedin District Court, citing psychological and cultural factors.

“He faces a lot of personal and intimate issues… and I’m not going to put additional stress or potential trauma on him,” he said.

Abdulrahman had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of making an intimate video recording, one of which accounted for more than 60 incidents.

The name of the restaurant where the infringements took place has been permanently deleted.

Abdulrahman was finally arrested on July 24.

The victim asked him for directions to the toilet and the defendant obeyed, before following the man inside.

Abdulrahman entered the cabin next door and made his move.

“While holding a cell phone in one hand, the accused stood on the toilet and pointed to [it] on the booth and filmed the accused’s genitals while he urinated, ”a police summary said.

Realizing what was happening, the victim informed the restaurant manager and the police were called.

The extent of Abdulrahman’s crimes, dating back to November 2020, was not revealed until officers analyzed the device.

While the accused was unable to explain his actions, his lawyer Sarah Saunderson-Warner exposed his turbulent past.

Born in Yemen, Abdulrahman arrived in New Zealand in 2013 where he was granted refugee status.

“Her sexuality in this country is punishable by death,” Ms. Saunderson-Warner said.

The defendant had studied at a higher level which led to a job in the hospitality industry, the court said.

Since the offense was discovered, Abdulrahman had received treatment from a psychotherapist and was seeing a general practitioner for depression and anxiety.

Ms Saunderson-Warner said he was motivated to continue with this course.

“It was clearly an invasion of privacy, it was a widespread breach of trust. The public expect to be able to use the toilet in public places without this kind of thing happening,” said Judge Flatley.

Abdulrahman was sentenced to four months of community detention and 12 months of surveillance.

The judge ordered the destruction of the phone used to make the recordings.