Court convicts man for sharing nude footage of Dutch handball team

A man accused of sharing nude footage of the Dutch women's handball team without their permission was convicted by the court in Leeuwarden on Friday. He was sentenced to a one month suspended jail sentence and 80 hours of community service, with two years of probation. He will serve the month behind bars if he violates the terms of his probation, the court said.

It started back in July 2016 when seven members of the national handball team visited a Sauna Oase in Nederhasselt. The facility had installed security cameras in its locker rooms, devices which were later hacked, a representative of the business said at the time the case was publicized.

The man convicted on Friday was not accused of hacking the cameras, nor of being the first person to distribute the footage. 

The defendant said during the trial that in the first week of March 2018 he downloaded the videos from one site, a forum called One Click Chicks, and re-uploaded them to adult video site xHamster as a way of storing them for personal use. "There was therefore no intention of posting nude images of [the women] on the internet for third parties to view," the court wrote as a short summary of the suspect's position.

The handball players filed a criminal complaint after their trainer told them about the footage circulating online that same month. The suspect was arrested soon after.

“On these images people are nude; the suspect has made a huge breach into the personal life of the victims. This even more so due to the victims being a part of the Dutch handball team, meaning that the images were given a great deal of media attention,” the court said in a statement. 

The man was convicted of unlawful coercion for sharing the videos on the site. An accusation that he tried to personally benefit from sharing the video was dismissed. Should he not complete his community service, he will have to serve 40 days in custody.

The criminal court also did not award the victims financial damages, but said the victims were within their rights to pursue damages in civil court. Five of the women involved had asked for three thousand euros each in punitive damages.

In its closing argument, the prosecution called for a sentence of 180 hours of community service, a suspended one-month sentence, and two years of probation. The prosecutor also recommended an additional 90 days in custody if the community service demand was not met.