German tourist Martin Michael, 58, leaving Cairns Court after he was fined $5000 after pleading guilty to five counts of recordings in breach of privacy. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
German tourist Martin Michael, 58, leaving Cairns Court after he was fined $5000 after pleading guilty to five counts of recordings in breach of privacy. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

‘Disgusting act’: German tourist handed hefty fine over upskirting

A GERMAN tourist who filmed up the skirts of five women without their knowing as they rode on the escalator at Cairns Central has been slapped with a $5000 fine.

Martin Michael, 58, a psychiatrist and married father-of-two, landed in Cairns a week ago and the Cairns Magistrates Court heard he captured the images of the women on Sunday and Thursday while standing behind and placing his phone on the ground.

He was arrested after one of the women realised what he was doing and alerted security with police taking him into custody on Sheridan St after he fled.

Michael, who the court heard was only in Australia on a 21-day tourist visa and leaves in less than a fortnight, was found with images of five different women on his phone and pleaded guilty to five charges of recordings in breach of privacy.

Police prosecutor Sen-Constable Trevor Woodman labelled the offending an "absolute invasion of privacy.

"People go shopping wearing skirts or dresses," he said.

"They shouldn't be subject to this kind of predatory behaviour.

"These young women want to go about their business without this invasion of privacy."

Acting Magistrate Scott Luxton said he was handing out the significant fine because Michael was due to leave the country soon, otherwise he would likely have been handed a supervisory order.

He also recorded a conviction despite an argument from defence solicitor David Jenkins about the impacts on his life.

"If there are (issues with) employment and future travel that's directly a result of his own actions," he said.

"These offences represent gross invasions of privacy of those five victims."

Mr Jenkins conceded his client's actions involved a "disgusting act" and said his profession as a psychiatrist gave him "particular insight" into the offending.

"It's been a huge wake up call for the defendant to face these charges," he said.

Michael was given three days to pay the fine or serve 25 days in jail.