Crown loses appeal to have Kelowna firefighter put behind bars | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Crown loses appeal to have Kelowna firefighter put behind bars

Jason Stoodley
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Crown prosecutors have failed in their attempt to get jail time for a former Kelowna fire captain who was found guilty of filming a teenager in the shower.

Last summer, Jason Todd John Stoodley avoided getting a criminal record after BC Provincial Court Judge Nicholas Preovolos granted him a conditional discharge and ordered him to do 40 hours of community service. The sentence means that, provided Stoodley doesn't breach 18 months of probation, he won't get a criminal record.

The Crown had wanted three to six months behind bars, and clearly unhappy with the judge's decision, launched an appeal.

Prosecutors argued the sentence failed to properly recognize the gravity of the offence.

However, today, June 18, appearing virtually at the Vernon courthouse, BC Supreme Court Justice Briana Hardwick rejected the Crown's appeal.

"It has not been established that the judge made an error or that the sentence was demonstrably unfit," Justice Hardwick said.

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In July 2022, Stoodley was charged with voyeurism after he was caught filming a 16-year-old girl in the shower.

The teen had become suspicious and set her phone up and began recording before she went into the shower.

Her footage, which was played in the courtroom, showed Stoodley using his phone to film the girl by lifting it and pointing it through a glass window above the bathroom door.

He then put his hands in his shorts.

"I infer from the movement of his hand he's masturbating," the judge had said at the time.

The original trial judge hadn't mentioned why the teen was suspicious or what had previously happened for her to decide to film.

However, Justice Hardwick did address the issue.

"It must be acknowledged but for the victim's intuition there might not have been such a clear evidentiary record of the offence," the Justice said. "It is most unfortunate the minor-aged child thought this measure was necessary in the circumstances."

The victim's name is covered under a publication ban and has purposely been vague with some of the details to protect her identity.

READ MORE: No jail for violent attack; judge cites Indigenous Vernon man's past

After being charged, Stoodley lost his $120,000-a-year job at the Kelowna fire department. His lawyer said at the time that Stoodley had lost his identity, became depressed and had suicidal ideation. He was found to have PTSD following two decades as a firefighter and years in the Canadian military.

He'd since spent $10,000 on counselling and apologized for his actions telling the court his behaviour was "inhumane."

He offered a $2,500 victim surcharge, considerably higher than the normal range of $100 to $200. The money goes towards helping victims of crime, not the actual victim.

In making her decision, Justice Hardwick cited the offence was a single act that lasted less than two minutes and Stoodley hadn't kept the recording.

While the Crown wanted jail time, the Justice wasn't swayed.

"There is no dispute in this case that the sentence imposed on Mr. (Stoodley) infringed on constitutional rights or was unavailable as an option," the Justice said.

— This story was corrected at 11:10 a.m. June 19, 2024 to clarify that it was BC Supreme Court Justice Briana Hardwick who delivered the decision, not Justice Alison Beames.

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