Professor installed camera in student's shower

Former Professor Michael Lawes pleaded guilty to installing a device in the shower of his granny flat.
Former Professor Michael Lawes pleaded guilty to installing a device in the shower of his granny flat.

THE university student filmed showering naked by former Professor Michael Lawes fears other women could fall victim to the same actions.

Lawes was fined $7700 and given a 12-month good behaviour bond in Darwin Local Court after pleading guilty to installing a device in the shower of his granny flat.

The woman only discovered the device after Lawes claimed to be checking the bathroom's hot water.

The camera was disguised in a smoke detector and police found the footage on Lawes' computer.

The woman's lawyer, Cliff Savala, who spoke on her behalf, said she feared other students could still be vulnerable when staying in Charles Darwin University accommodation.

"In this regard CDU should have had in place appropriate policies and procedures to prevent such an act being performed by a professor on a student under his supervision and also in accommodation provided to the student by a professor," he said.

He said the woman, aged 28, was extremely embarrassed, shocked and traumatised by her ordeal. "This is particularly the case in the circumstances where Mr Lawes was in such a position of authority and trust," he said.

Friends and supporters of the woman were in court for Lawes' sentencing yesterday. Stewart Pittard said the supporters felt a stronger deterrent was necessary.

"We are trying to increase equality between the sexes in universities in particular and it seems disproportionate. It's not really the message you want to send to everybody," he said.

"Especially when you consider the high-ranking men in high academic positions which is disproportionate to women."

Judge Greg MacDonald said despite showing remorse for his actions through his lawyer, Lawes was yet to apologise directly to the victim.

"The victim is planning to leave Darwin because of the shame of living in this community," he said.

He said Lawes' reputation was now in tatters and he would struggle for employment in academia.

He said Lawes' actions had elements of sexual gratification and voyeurism.

"You were at a particularly low point psychologically," he said.

Topics:  darwin spying students university

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