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Man who filmed the buttocks of 63 women shopping given final warning

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Sione Malafiu Falala leaves the Hamilton District Court after an appearance in June 2021. Photo / Belinda Feek

A man with a history of filming women inappropriately has narrowly avoided another jail sentence after secretly videoing the bottoms of 63 females who were out shopping.

On one occasion recidivist offender Sione Malafiu Falala went further, crouching down on the ground at a hospice store in Hamilton. Instead of just filming women in the store, he placed his cellphone in the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor and tried to film a woman as she tried on a pair of jeans.

The woman saw Falala’s hand and said, “excuse me”, causing him to flee the store.

The 46-year-old appeared in the Hamilton District Court for sentencing on Friday afternoon after accepting a sentence indication in February on two charges of doing an indecent act.

The hospice store incident occurred on May 1 last year, while the earlier incidents of filming women out shopping occurred between December 10 and 12, 2021.

The offending in December 2021 happened at Hamilton’s Te Awa shopping centre at The Base and involved Falala holding his cellphone outwards, entering multiple stores and filming the buttocks of female shoppers.

When he was close to the victims, he slowed down and focused the camera on the women’s bottoms.

“You held it within centimetres of the female shoppers’ buttocks,” Judge Crayton said during his sentence indication.

“There were recorded … at least 63 individual women who were of course unaware of what you were doing.

“It appeared that some of those you were targeting were women wearing shorts or skirts.”

On one occasion Falala made a 12-minute video of two women while standing outside a gift shop.

Falala is on an extended supervision order, imposed in 2020 prior to his release on parole, after serving a five-year prison term after being convicted of making intimate recordings of women, burglary, indecent assault on a woman over 16, and assaulting a female.

Previously, in the Auckland District Court on December 19, 2014, there were 10 charges relating to making intimate visual recordings between September and October 2011.

In those instances, Falala broke into a Ponsonby apartment early on September 17, 2011, and filmed a woman sleeping on her couch in her underwear. He dropped his pants while standing next to her before fleeing when discovered as she woke up.

He also broke into two Mt Albert apartments in November 2011, both times when women were home and confronted him.

Falala is listed on court documents as a contractor and living in the care of Anglican Action at Kaainga Taupua emergency housing at Hampton Downs, but has previously lived in Auckland.

Judge Crayton said the offending was serious, especially the hospice shop incident, in which the victim’s privacy was invaded.

“Clearly, what has occurred repeatedly over your criminal history identifies a significant aggravating factor … you have repeatedly offended against females both sexually and through the making of intimate visual recordings.”

Sione Malafiu Falala leaves the Hamilton District Court after an appearance in June 2021. Photo / Belinda Feek
Sione Malafiu Falala leaves the Hamilton District Court after an appearance in June 2021. Photo / Belinda Feek

After Falala accepted the indication in February, Judge Crayton allowed him further time to re-engage with his extended supervision order before embarking on Friday’s sentencing to monitor his progress.

“That’s important for my part because the reports have been given over the last four months.

“What is clear is at least a pattern that’s consistent with Mr Falala engaging and buying into the process.”

He wanted to impose a sentence that struck a balance between protecting the community – and the victims’ likely wish of him going to jail – and keeping on track with his ESO and rehabilitation.

Judge Crayton said while he appreciated the victims’ likely preference, he said a sentence of home detention would better protect the public, as he would be more closely monitored.

Counsel Amin Osama said his client’s compliance and willingness to reintegrate was “really good”, however, there were “just a few behavioural issues” he needed to sort out.

In sentencing him to six months and two weeks’ home detention, Judge Crayton gave Falala a discount for his upbringing, willingness to engage in restorative justice – which was turned down – and remorse.

However, he also issued Falala with a final warning and said his sentence would be judicially monitored.

“With your history you realise that will mean you are likely to face a very long sentence and to serve all of it.

“If there’s a slippage … you become defiant, aggressive, or manipulative once again, then we will be meeting and you will be going to prison.

“You are getting an opportunity, I anticipate it will be the last.”

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