US man jailed for taking 'upskirt' photos at Dublin Pride

Sykes who is a married father-of-two says that he got 'caught up in the atmosphere' when he took the photos.

US man Russell Sykes has been arrested for 'upskirting' photos at Dublin Pride

A US businessman, Russel Sykes, aged 61, has been jailed for taking an upskirt photograph at Dublin Pride.

Sykes crouched down to take a video up a woman’s skirt but ran off when he was confronted by the victim who was left upset and humiliated. However, Sykes later returned to the festival after changing his t-shirt. He was spotted by the victim and when he was confronted by the Gardaí, there was photographic evidence of the upskirting incident.

The married father-of-two from South Carolina pled guilty to engaging in offensive conduct of a sexual nature. Sykes said that he got “caught up in the atmosphere” which Judge Conall Gibbons labelled a “lame excuse” and jailed him for two months. Judge Gibbons, speaking to Sykes’ defence solicitor said: “The word that is used is ‘pride’, and it shouldn’t mean lewd or offensive behaviour.”

The victim described her humiliation and the worry that the upskirt image of her would be put “all over the internet”.

Caroline Counihan who is the Legal Policy Director with the Rape Crisis Network Ireland has said that the quick prosecution of Sykes sends out a positive message on sexual crimes. She praised the judge’s comments on the case, saying, “The matter was very soon before the courts in front of Judge Gibbons whose remarks I applaud.”

Ireland has not yet introduced specific legislation to deal with the issue of ‘upskirting’, however, it is covered under general lewd conduct laws.

The offence is set to be included along with revenge pornography and online stalking in The Harassment, Harmful Communications, and Related Offences Bill which is currently before the Oireachtas. You can view the bill and follow its progress here.

The new laws were recommended in the 2016 report on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety by the Law Reform Commission.

Judge Gibbons speaking to Sykes’ defence solicitor said: “His behaviour is the very antithesis of Pride.”

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