A homeless man who used his cellphone to record 78 unsuspecting women using public toilets has been sentenced to 18 months in jail, followed by three years of probation.
Garth Galligan, 34, pleaded guilty last week to unlawfully recording the women in places where they could reasonably expect to have privacy. Galligan also pleaded guilty to breaching his probation by being in the women’s washroom at the Empress Hotel on Aug. 26, 2019, and breaching a court order to meet daily with the Assertive Community Treatment team, which supports him in the community.
Judge Jennifer Barrett accepted a joint submission from Crown and defence asking for the 18-month sentence. She noted that although only one woman was identified, Galligan’s voyeurism has had a significant impact on the community.
“The public’s expectation of privacy when using a public washroom is well recognized and accepted. Mr. Galligan’s offending behaviour directly violated this expectation in a very intimate and personally invasive way. The offence of voyeurism is not a victimless crime,” said the judge.
During the sentencing hearing, Barrett heard that Galligan breached his probation on the same day he was released from jail after serving time for a sexual assault in the women’s washroom of the Royal British Columbia Museum, and for a disturbing incident at the McDonald’s on Douglas Street.
In December 2018, Galligan approached a young woman in the women’s washroom at the museum, tried to push her into a stall and groped her. Another woman intervened and he ran off.
Galligan also followed a woman into the washroom at the McDonald’s and propositioned her for sex. When Galligan pushed on a stall door to see if it was locked and would not take no for an answer, the woman yelled at him to leave and called police.
In March 2019, Galligan was sentenced to jail, followed by three years of probation, with conditions that prohibited him from entering or lingering around women’s washrooms.
Within hours of his release, Galligan was found by a member of the Empress Hotel’s housekeeping staff standing topless on a toilet seat with his pants around his ankles. She ordered him to leave.
On Sept. 1, another housekeeper walked into the women’s washroom and saw Galligan naked inside the stall. She was frightened, told him to leave and alerted security, but Galligan fled, court heard.
On Oct. 7, a woman using a bathroom stall at the hotel noticed a cellphone screen coming from the stall beside her when she flushed the toilet. Galligan ran off, but was later identified through security cameras at the hotel.
That same evening, a housekeeper found Galligan again in the women’s washroom at the hotel. She told him to leave and that he was banned from the hotel.
On Oct. 10, Galligan was arrested and his cellphone was seized. The police found a compilation of videos showing 58 women in toilet stalls. Court heard that the Oct. 6 video is 46 minutes and 18 seconds in length and Galligan’s face appears on the video 13 times. It’s believed the video clips were recorded between Aug. 26 and Oct. 6.
A further 20 women were video-recorded between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8.
Of the 78 women, only six were not recorded in a state of undress or using the toilet.
No one’s face was visible on the video, except Galligan’s. It’s not clear where the videos were taken.
Before imposing sentence, Barrett considered Galligan’s personal circumstances.
The Indigenous man’s biological mother struggled with addiction and lived on the streets in Vancouver. He was removed from her care at birth and lived in a foster home until age five, when he was adopted by the Galligans. His adoptive father died when Galligan was 19. At age 20, he left the family home to seek out his biological mother and began experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
Galligan has a number of very serious challenges, said Barrett. He struggled academically and socially in school, but got through high school. He now collects disability benefits.
He has a low IQ and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, substance-use disorder for both cannabis and amphetamines and anti-social personality disorder. Psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Dugbartey concluded that Galligan’s voyeurism is driven by his strong sexual arousal and interest in seeing women urinating, and that he is at high risk to reoffend sexually.
Dugbartey found Galligan had little insight into his offending behaviour or his need for treatment. Galligan told the psychiatrist he breached his probation order because he wanted to fulfill his sexual desires of viewing and video-recording women urinating.
Dugbartey found Galligan to be “decidedly unrepentant and lacking in remorse,” said the judge.
“There is a need in this case to separate Mr. Galligan from the community, given his current attitude about his offending, the need to make changes in his life and the need for treatment. Without those changes being made, he poses a significant risk to the community,” said Barrett.