A former senior New Zealand diplomat is on trial for allegedly hiding a spy-cam in an embassy bathroom in Washington

  • Alfred Keating, a former top official from New Zealand, is on trial for allegedly planting a spy-cam in an embassy bathroom in Washington, DC.
  • Staffers found the device in July 2017 when it fell out of a heating duct in the unisex bathroom.
  • Investigators found Keating’s DNA on the camera’s memory card.
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A former senior diplomat from New Zealand is on trial for allegedly hiding a camera in the unisex bathroom at the country’s embassy in Washington, DC.

It is alleged that Alfred Keating, a former naval commodore, concealed a camera and attempted to make intimate recordings of colleagues using the bathroom. He appeared at the Auckland District Court on Monday, RadioNZ reported.

He denied all charges against him.

At the time of the alleged crime, Keating was defence attaché at the New Zealand embassy in Washington, and held diplomatic immunity, meaning he could not be prosecuted in the US. He has since left the post.

An embassy staffer discovered the spy-cam set up inside a heating duct on July 27, 2017, when the device fell on the floor, court documents show. New Zealand Police analysed the camera, and found 19 images of people using the bathroom over a five hour period. They were all clothed.

According to a report from CNN, court documents claim the platform on which the camera was mounted was covered in thick layer of dust, suggesting it had been in place for some time when it was disovered.

Crown prosecutor Henry Steele said investigators first suspected Keating when they compared the timing of the embassy’s swipe records to security footage of a man entering the bathroom on the morning of July 27, the New Zealand Herald reported.

CCTV filmed the man wearing dark pants, a white shirt, and a black Fitbit watch around 9am, the paper said. The first video file on the camera’s memory card showed someone wearing blue latex gloves setting up the camera around the same time.

Authorities searched Keating’s home when he travelled to New Zealand in November 2017, and found that his DNA matched the sample found on the camera’s memory card, according to court documents. He had allegedly installed software for the camera on his personal computer.

Police also found a Fitbit watch and laptop searches for how to set up the camera, the New Zealand Herald reported.

In his opening statement, Keating’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, compared the case to gossip magazines luring readers in with racy headlines that did not represent the story.

“This is a circumstantial case and we say a weak one,” Mansfield said, according to the New Zealand Herald.”The evidence doesn’t tell you who did it and it certainly doesn’t tell you it was Mr Keating.”

Keating’s trial is expected to last about two weeks.

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