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A University of Wollongong student who hid a camera inside a sponge in order to film his female flatmates while they showered has requested privacy as his case is dealt with by the courts.
“Please, give me privacy,” Rico Auliaputra said, outside Wollongong Local Court on Thursday.
“I’m so embarrassed.”

Auliaputra, a 25-year-old Indonesian national studying for a degree in internet technology, was convicted of filming a person in a private act without consent, after he failed to front Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday to answer the charge.

Police documents tendered to the court said the three flatmates were at the CBD unit they shared with Auliaputra the night of October 28 last year when one of them noticed a green flashing light coming from a yellow sponge on the floor of the bathroom.
Upon inspection, the women found a small camera with an SD card, which had been inserted into a slit in the sponge. A power cord extending out of the camera led to a battery pack hidden under the vanity.

The women called Auliaputra, who arrived at the unit 30 minutes later. They all agreed to view the contents of the SD card, but then decided to wait for police to arrive first. The card went missing before police arrived.

A warrant for Auliaputra’s arrest was issue when he didn’t appear at court on Tuesday. On Thursday he handed himself in to police, explaining he had confused the dates and attempted to attend court on Anzac Day.
His lawyer told the court he would not contest the conviction recorded in his absence. The matter was adjourned to May 22, for sentencing.
Outside court, Auliaputra said he attempted to film the women only once. He could not explain his actions, when pressed.

He admitted he threw the camera’s SD card off the balcony before police arrived to investigate the matter, and said he believed police later recovered the device.
He said he had since found new accommodation, at the womens’ request. “They’re angry to me,” he said. “Just after they found me [filming] – then they want me to leave and I left straight away.”

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