Fort McMurray councillor facing voyeurism charges for sharing 'intimate image' of woman

·2 min read

A councillor with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is facing two voyeurism charges related to making an intimate image of a woman and sharing it with others.

RCMP charged Jeffrey Peddle Thursday with "surreptitiously" making an intimate visual recording of a woman and then sharing it with others on Dec. 31, 2019.

Both charges are voyeurism offences under the Criminal Code, which defines a visual recording as a photographic, film or video recording made by any means.

CBC News is not naming the woman due to the personal nature of the charges.

According to court records, Peddle allegedly made the recording when the woman was "in a place that gave rise to the reasonable expectation of privacy, when that person could reasonably be expected to be nude."

The second charge alleges that on the same day, Peddle did "knowingly publish, distribute, transmit, sell make available or advertise an intimate image of a person," knowing that the person did not provide consent.

In a news release Friday, Wood Buffalo RCMP said they received a complaint June 22 about "the distribution of intimate images without consent that had occurred in the Wood Buffalo area."

RCMP conducted an investigation. In August, results of the investigation were provided to the Office of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service Special Prosecutions for review.

As a result of the review, charges against Peddle were recommended, RCMP said.

'There is no criminal activity here at all'

Peddle has hired Edmonton criminal lawyer Brian Beresh to represent him.

Beresh said he's reviewed the information police gathered to lay the charges.

"There is no criminal activity whatsoever," Beresh said. "In my view, my client has done nothing wrong."

According to Beresh, the voyeurism charge relates to Peddle taking a photo of a woman he knows while she was laying face-down on the beach, then sharing the photo.

"The charges on their face suggest something more serious, but those are the facts," Beresh said. "He's very intent on proving his innocence.

Peddle intends to remain on council and fight to clear his name, Beresh said.

Wood Buffalo Mayor Don Scott said he is aware of the charges against Peddle.

"As this matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time," Scott said in a statement.

Late Friday, CBC News spoke to the complainant. She disputes Peddle's version of events.

"Accountability is the only thing that changes behaviour," she said. "The law will uphold itself."

She said she is looking forward to the case unfolding in court, and welcomed all the calls of support she's received.

"It's important how you treat people," she said. "For anyone who would treat people like that, I hope it's a deterrence."

Peddle, 53, has represented Ward 1 on the regional council since winning election in 2017.

He is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Fort McMurray provincial court on Dec. 16.