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Homeowner jailed for secretly filming student in shower

A man who secretly filmed his tenant while she showered and then harassed her for months has been jailed to “think about what he did” while a judge considers his sentence.

Le Wang (42) of Balally Drive, Dundrum, Dublin 16, secretly filmed his tenant while she showered and then harassed her for months. She pleaded guilty to harassing a foreign student for three months between December 2022 and March 2023.

At a session of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday, Judge Martin Nolan remanded Wang in custody for a fortnight pending sentencing.

“I want you to look around and think about what you did in the meantime,” Judge Nolan said, noting that Wang had videotaped the woman twice in the shower and was attempting to do so a third time when the woman noticed the phone. .

Wang had hidden the phone in a laundry basket, balanced on the clothes at the foot of the bathtub, the court heard.

Judge Nolan said that when confronted, Wang made threats to reveal the videos and harassed the girl for three months, which had been very distressing for her.

The court heard the woman had arrived in Ireland from China in 2021 to study and was offered to rent a room in Wang’s home.

Garda Paul Kane told Jane Murphy BL, prosecuting, that the woman paid €950 for the first month’s rent in December 2022.

She told gardaí that when she moved in, Wang began texting her every day, asking her things such as what she was doing and if she would like to go to a bar. He also asked her to let him know when he wanted to take a shower, the court heard.

On December 20, 2022, the woman was in the bathroom preparing to shower when she noticed the defendant’s cell phone swinging on top of the clothes in the laundry basket.

She immediately told Wang’s wife, who said her husband must have put it there by accident and returned it to her.

Wang overheard the conversation and heard the student crying, the court heard.

That night, he sent her a series of text messages telling her he had to move out the next day.

The messages also contained the following threats: “If you make a big deal out of what happened tonight and ruin my family, I have a way to ruin your reputation. “You better pretend nothing happened tonight.”

The student moved out that night. Later, Wang’s wife called the injured party and told him that she had checked her husband’s phone and found many videos of her on it.

In the following months, Wang attempted to contact the student through various social media apps, including WhatsApp and WeChat, a messaging app used by the Chinese community.

The woman always tried to block his contact and after 18 incidents of conversation attempts, the harassment ended on March 11, 2023.

Wang was asking the woman to return to the house, asking her where she was and saying he wanted to apologize to her.

Gardaí confiscated the man’s phone and found two videos of the woman naked in the shower, taken on December 5 and 10, 2022.

Garda Kane said the videos were deleted and later restored, and that screenshots of the photos were taken and shared on Wang’s own WeChat app.

Wang has no prior convictions.

A victim impact statement was given to the judge, but it was not read aloud.

Gda Kane agreed with Marc Murphy BL and argued that there was no suggestion that the images or videos had been shared with anyone else.

The court heard that Wang co-operated fully with gardaí and appeared to suggest to them that his behavior had been an extraordinary error of judgment or a “moment of madness”.

“Many crazy moments,” Judge Nolan interjected.

Wang came to Ireland about 20 years ago from China and has always worked, the court heard.

He is currently self-employed as a taxi driver and works up to 50 hours a week.

A psychological report described Wang as extremely introverted and said his childhood had been “devoid of emotional expression.”

Judge Nolan commented that there were many introverted people in the world and that this was neither a mitigating nor an aggravating factor.

The lawyer said Wang had made “a complete fool” of himself and put his marriage and job at risk. The court heard the psychological report placed Wang at a low risk of reoffending.

“He is a man who learned his lesson,” the lawyer said when presenting letters from Wang and his wife to the court.

Wang will be sentenced on May 16.