A Dundee sexual abuse survivors’ group has voiced anger after a man who secretly photographed schoolgirls around the city walked free from court.
Craig Smith, 43, followed young females on foot and in his car, taking covert photographs of their legs and buttocks over a five-year period.
He also admitted downloading indecent images of children by typing in explicit search terms relating to “teens”.
Smith, of Dudhope Gardens, was ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work and was placed under supervision and on the sex offenders’ register for three years.
Heather Williams, manager at Dundee Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, said: “The message this gives to women and girls is that their right to bodily autonomy and not to have photos taken of them without their consent is not taken seriously by the systems which should be enforcing this.
“Women and girls should be able to go about their lives including walking down the street without having to deal with someone feeling they are entitled to take pictures of their bodies.”
Tempers flared outside the court building when Smith emerged with a hood covering his face and ran to his car to avoid being photographed by the media.
Two members of the public shouted and chased after him, before police officers stepped in to calm the situation down.
Smith, who claimed to be a hobby photographer, amassed a collection of 10,738 images and videos, giving the images file names such as “denim shorts” and descriptions referring to the girls’ buttocks.
However, Sheriff Lorna Drummond ruled that there was “no sexual element” to Smith’s actions.
He will continue to work at a city architecture firm, the court heard.
Sentencing him, Sheriff Drummond said: “I’m not satisfied that there’s a significant sexual element.
“It is libelled as a breach of the peace – essentially taking photographs.
“You have otherwise led a positive life and have held responsible jobs.”
Between 2010 and 2015 Smith photographed girls at the Overgate centre, on Perth Road, at cafes, takeaways, pedestrian crossings and on public transport.
When caught by police, he claimed he enjoyed taking “candid” shots where the subjects are unaware they’re being photographed.
Police also found explicit chat logs in which Smith asked females how young they were, as well as e-mail accounts with names such as “daddy the pervert”.
Smith admitted a charge of breaching the peace by taking photographs and videos of females without their knowledge and consent between August 13 2010 and May 23 2015 on Perth Road, the Overgate, The Hub, Hawkhill, Guthrie Street and elsewhere.
He also pled guilty to making, or permitting to be made, indecent images of children between September 9 2018 and March 22 2018 at his home address.