Salt Lake County Jail
Vratislav Roger Bilek

SALT LAKE CITY — He gave a woman drugs and took pictures and video of her after she passed out naked in his motel room, a jury found.

But an appeals court has thrown out a man's voyeurism convictions because he didn’t hide the camera.

Vratislav Roger Bilek, 64, is serving a prison term on a heftier drug distribution charge. But earlier this month, the Utah Court of Appeals tossed the two counts of voyeurism, a class A misdemeanor. The court in its opinion states that when he was charged in 2014, Utah law required a camera to be concealed or disguised in order to fit the crime of voyeurism.

A similar reversal is unlikely in future cases. As part of a 2017 Utah law against using drones to spy on others, legislators removed the requirement that a camera must be hidden in order to fit a charge of voyeurism.

The decision knocks off up to two years from Bilek's longer prison term. But it doesn't alter much in the big picture, said Nathan Evershed, the Salt Lake County prosecutor on the case.

"When it comes to the practicality of him being held in prison, it doesn't affect that," Evershed said. "He is where he needs to be."

Bilek, of Sandy, is serving a term of up to 15 years on the drug charge. That's on top of an equal sentence in a prior kidnapping case that began with allegations of rape from two women. Bilek reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the case after the women disappeared, pleading no contest to a kidnapping charge in 2015. He was placed on probation, but a judge sent him to prison for violating terms of his release when he was convicted in the more recent case.

At trial in 2016, prosecutors said Bilek paid bail for a 20-year-old woman and lured her to his extended stay motel room, promising drugs. Investigator found photos and videos of the naked and unconscious woman on Bilek's cellphone, court documents say. Evershed argued he engaged in a pattern of preying on vulnerable women after giving them drugs and a place to stay.

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The jury sided with prosecutors, finding the fact she was incapacitated supported the voyeurism charge. Jurors also returned guilty verdicts against Bilek on charges of distribution of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor. He was acquitted of one count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Bilek said the cases were a plot orchestrated by his ex-wife, that his public defender failed him and that law enforcement had manipulated prosecutors and police.

His attorney did not immediately return a request for comment on the appeals court's decision.