Hamilton man jailed for photographing unsuspecting women in shower

ByDavid M. Conte

Mar 28, 2022

Anthony Zane Gareth Baker used his cell phone to snap photos of five different women as they showered or undressed in their bedroom. Photo/Picture 123rf

Anthony Zane Gareth Baker was creative in his way of photographing unsuspecting women showering or changing at his home.

Sometimes he held his cell phone through a gap in the sliding bathroom door that was just big enough to take a picture.

Other times he would wait for an unsuspecting victim to change and use his phone to put them through the curtains of a bedroom.

At various stages and on “numerous” occasions between January 2020 and April 2021, Baker secretly took photos of the five women, all of whom have their names permanently deleted.

But it wasn’t until the morning he was set to be jailed for 10 months in Hamilton District Court that the 33-year-old agreed to have the pictures taken, despite accepting a indication of sentence in July last year.

Through his lawyer Jonathon Myers, he handed Judge William Lawson a letter of remorse as he was about to learn of his fate.

The judge noted that it was “too little too late” but he agreed to give a small discount for his content.

Police prosecutor Melanie Feist told Judge Lawson that one of the six victims was so horrified by Baker’s actions that she couldn’t bring herself to write a victim impact statement.

“She found the offense against her heartbreaking and it’s a new trauma for her when she has to relive it.”

She said the remaining victims explained how they now live in a state of “hypervigilance” regarding their actions and isolate themselves.

“Their behaviors are now severely restricted by the accused who offend them, while they now take steps to effectively isolate themselves from society and men.

“Also hypervigilance in terms of fear of being watched because their privacy was invaded when the defendant took pictures of them in various states of undress in the bathroom.”

She said the investigator also found “a large number” of other images on Baker’s phone that were found to be inappropriate but did not lead to charges due to the inability to identify the victims.

The police had requested the destruction of the phone. Feist also noted that Baker could not be registered in the sex offender database because his offenses did not constitute qualifying offenses for him to be registered.

Myers said that despite his client’s refusal to take the pictures, he had since spoken to him “and he now accepts that he took the pictures.”

“His advice to me is that he struggled to accept within himself what he did and it is now that he is finally able to accept [it].

“[Baker] hopes, better late than never, if he can help his victims by letting them know that he accepts responsibility.”

He hoped that “everyone can now try to move on and heal and also so that they can get the help they need and that they will only get once they accept what he did”.

“Mr. Baker was made aware of the comments in the victim impact statements and feels deeply responsible for what the victims have experienced.”

Myers admitted his client was awaiting sentencing for shooting boy runners who were terrorizing his neighborhood at the time of that offense, but Judge Lawson said he would not elevate his behavior.

In April 2021, a frustrated Baker was sentenced to six months in community detention and 12 months of intensive supervision after using his .22 rifle to shoot cars as they drove past his Rukuhia property in June 2020.

Judge Lawson said it was clear from the victim impact statements that Baker’s behavior had a “significant impact” on young women.

“This offense has…and will have an impact on these young people for some time to come and you should be aware that your behavior in terms of the offense may have a significant impact on them in the future.

Judge Lawson said he would have sentenced Baker to house arrest, but he had no suitable property.

He instead jailed him for 10 months but granted him permission to apply for house arrest if he found suitable property.

The victims have all obtained the removal of their names and any identifying element.