Teacher Robert Emmett guilty of filming up students' skirts, possessing child abuse material

Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Robert Emmett, who pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography, leaves the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday. Photo: Anthony Johnson

A former Sydney teacher who comes from a family of top NSW judges has pleaded guilty to filming up the skirts of his students and possessing child pornography.

Robert Arthur Emmett was willing to undergo chemical castration to address his "serious problem" if required, defence counsel told the Downing Centre District Court on Friday.

Emmett pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child abuse material and three counts of aggravated filming of the private parts of a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of obtaining sexual pleasure or sexual gratification.

"This was an offender who understood that he was committing serious misconduct and acts of sexual deviance," Crown prosecutor Nicole Noman, SC, said.

According to the police statement of facts, more than 9500 images of child pornography were found in Emmett's possession. That included three images and seven videos in the worst category, involving "sexual imagery including pain, humiliation and animals".

Emmett comes from an impressive legal family. His father, Arthur Emmett, is an NSW Court of Appeal judge, and his mother, Sylvia Emmett, a Federal Circuit Court judge.

His grandfather, Sir Laurence Street, was Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court, as was his father, Sir Kenneth Street, and his father before him, Sir Philip Street.

Emmett, then a 36-year-old mathematics teacher at St Andrew's Cathedral School in the city, was arrested on August 7, 2013.

On March 26, 2013, he went from one classroom to another, holding his camera phone at waist height, making two videos of three 14-year-old girls, according to the police fact sheet.

At one point, "the offender then engaged the students in conversation during which time he manoeuvred​ his phone to record up the skirts of [a student] recording her underwear and pubic area."

One victim said in a statement: "When I think back on his behaviour, he was often looking up the stairs as we walked up and down, and hanging around us too closely at lunch times."

Defence submissions said Emmett had been diagnosed with psychosexual problems best described as "complex paraphilia", with "voyeuristic, paedophile, hebephile and fetishistic features".

Police discovered the images of the schoolgirls on Emmett's phone after he was observed at Town Hall train station on August 6, 2013, crouching behind a young woman, according to the police fact sheet.

Police also said Emmett had been pretending to tie his shoe lace, while he filmed up her skirt with his iPhone 5.

Emmett's wife, Eliza, said in a character reference: "The contents of the fact sheet makes me sick to my stomach".

"However, in light of this, I still believe Robert to be a good man and a good father who loves his children very much."

The couple have two young children.

Defence barrister Tim Game, SC, told the court: "Immediately after he was arrested he commenced to do everything he could to address what was a very serious problem."

The court heard Emmett had been "extremely motivated and hardworking" in therapy and that his chances of reoffending were "greatly reduced".

The maximum penalty for aggravated filming of a person's private parts is five years' jail; for possession of child abuse material, it is 10 years' jail.

Judge Ian McClintock is set to deliver a sentence on May 15.

This story Teacher Robert Emmett guilty of filming up students' skirts, possessing child abuse material first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.