The son of a prominent legal family who filmed up the skirts of students at the Sydney private school where he worked has escaped serving time in prison.
Instead former St Andrew’s Cathedral School teacher Robert Emmett will serve his two-year sentence in the community.
Emmett, who is the son of NSW judge Arthur Emmett and the grandson of former chief justice Sir Laurence Street, pleaded guilty to three counts of filming a person’s private parts and one count of possessing child abuse material after police found material showing he had filmed up the skirts of three 14-year-old students.
In sentencing him to an Intensive Correction Order (ICO) on Thursday, Judge Ian McClintock said the child abuse material before him showed a “disturbing and perverted exploitation of children”.
But he found Emmett had shown an increasing awareness of the criminality of his offences and had shown a determination to rehabilitate himself.
The court heard the 38-year-old – whose name was previously suppressed – was arrested in August 2013 after he was caught using his phone to film up the skirt of a 21-year-old woman on a platform at Sydney’s Town Hall station.
It was this confrontation that led police to discover a four-minute video on Emmett’s phone from March 2013 that shows him going from one classroom to another, with his phone at waist height, recording three 14-year-old girls at St Andrew’s.
“When I think back on his behaviour, he was often looking up the stairs as we walked up and down, and hanging around us too closely at lunch times,” one of the girls said in a victim impact statement previously tendered to court.
Following his arrest, police also seized a computer hard drive containing 9517 images and 362 videos of child abuse material.
His barrister, Tim Game SC, previously said Emmett had been diagnosed with a series of “psychosexual problems” – best described as complex paraphilia.
Emmett’s wife, Eliza, wrote in a character reference tendered to court in May that the facts of the case made her “sick to my stomach”.
However, she said, she still believed him to be a good man.
Judge McClintock also placed Emmett on a three-year good behaviour bond for filming two women – one at Town Hall and another at a butcher shop.