Experts applaud ruling against man who posted ex's explicit video online

TORONTO -- Legal experts are celebrating a recent Ontario court decision that forces a man to compensate his ex-girlfriend after posting an explicit video of her online without her consent.

See Full Article

Both the presiding judge and legal observers say they believe the decision to be the first of its kind in Canada.

Ontario Superior Court Justice David Stinson said that the defendant, known only by his initials N.D., must pay his former girlfriend more than $140,000 in damages and interest.

Stinson's decision ruled the act of posting an intimate image online without permission can be compared to a sexual assault in terms of its impact and lasting harm.

Privacy law experts say the decision sets a precedent that will be felt throughout the country.

They say the ruling closes a gap in the legal system that left victims without the means of compensation if their privacy rights were violated in such a way.

While posting sexual images of another person without consent has been a criminal offence since 2014, both Stinson and privacy lawyers said they were not familiar with any comparable measures in civil law until now.

Donna Wilson, a Toronto-based lawyer who represented the victim, said the decision felt like a victory.

"(The client and her family) were so happy that there was finally some official recognition of the harm that she suffered, and a condemnation from the court that this is wrong and that she was the victim in this case," Wilson said in a telephone interview.

The court decision said Wilson's client and N.D. had dated for some time while attending high school in an unnamed Ontario city, but continued to stay in touch after the end of their relationship.

The decision said N.D. asked his former partner, who was then 18, to send him an explicit video that he promised he would keep completely private.

The ruling said the victim resisted for some time before complying in the fall of 2011. She later discovered that her ex had shared the video online the very day he received it and had also shown it to some of their mutual friends.

Wilson said her client was so traumatized by this development that she had to be taken to a crisis centre for help. She had trouble eating and sleeping for days on end and feared her reputation had been irreparably damaged, she added.

Wilson argued that uploading the video, which remained online for about three weeks, should be viewed as a sex crime with the same repercussions as a physical assault.

"The harm that results and the way the victims end up feeling is the same as someone in a sexual assault," she said. "They feel violated. Their bodies are being exposed in a sexual way that they haven't permitted, and the psychological harm that results is the same."

Stinson accepted Wilson's argument, saying the case could not be treated as a mere privacy breach.

"This case involves much more than an invasion of a right to informational privacy. As I have observed, in many ways it is analogous to a sexual assault," he wrote in the decision. "Given the circumstances of this case, and in particular the impact of the defendant's actions, a substantially higher award is warranted here.

David Fraser, an Internet privacy lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Halifax, said the ruling was a necessary development that may help to modernize Canada's justice system.

He said only Manitoba currently has a civil law in place to address such situations, adding recent high-profile cases such as the online bullying and subsequent suicide of Amanda Todd demonstrate the need for more comprehensive measures.

"While I don't think this is necessarily revolutionary, I think it is evolutionary," Fraser said of the Ontario ruling. "It expands the categories and also demonstrates the flexibility of our civil justice system to keep up with changing technologies and the changing environment in which we live, and to be able to fashion remedies for new or somewhat novel kinds of harm."

Stinson awarded the plaintiff $100,000 in total damages, plus an extra $41,000 in interest and legal costs.

The ruling said that N.D., who acted as his own lawyer, chose to neither defend his case nor settle out of court.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Istanbul's Pride march to go ahead despite governor's ban

    World News CTV News
    ISTANBUL -- Activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights said they will march for LGBT pride in Istanbul on Sunday, despite a ban by the governor. Organizers of the 2017 Istanbul LGBTI Pride called for the gathering to begin at 5 p.m. Source
  • 'I could hear people screaming'; Oil tanker explodes in Pakistan, killing 153 who tried to gather leaking fuel [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan — An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 153 people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, a hospital official said as the death toll continued to rise. Source
  • UK: All building cladding samples tested failed fire safety

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's government urged local officials across the country Sunday to urgently submit samples of tower block cladding after tests found that all samples tested so far have failed fire safety standards. In London, officials tried Sunday to complete the evacuation of hundreds of apartments in four towers deemed unsafe, but faced resistance as several families refused to budge. Source
  • Turkey's Erdogan rejects Arab demands; troops to stay in Qatar

    World News CTV News
    ISTANBUL -- Turkey's president on Sunday rejected a demand by major Arab states to remove Turkish troops from Qatar, saying their sweeping list of ultimatums has threatened the small Gulf country's sovereignty. Speaking after Eid al-Fitr prayers in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the demand "disrespectful" and said Turkey would not seek permission from others when making its defenceco-operation agreements. Source
  • No winning ticket for Saturday night's $9.4M Lotto 649 jackpot

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- No winning ticket was sold for the $9.4 million jackpot in Saturday night's Lotto 649 draw. However, the guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket holder in Ontario. The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on June 28 will be approximately $12 million. Source
  • Trudeau to march in Toronto Pride Parade today

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will march in Canada's largest Pride parade today. Trudeau, who became the first sitting prime minister to march in a Pride parade during last year's event, will be joined by other dignitaries including Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde and more than 150 groups and organizations. Source
  • Talks continue between Ontario's liquor board and workers

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Talks are continuing today between the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and its workers, who have threatened to go on strike at one minute past midnight. But there's no word on how the talks between the LCBO and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union are going. Source
  • Vehicle crashes into pedestrians in Newcastle, U.K.; terrorism not suspected

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Six people, including three children, were injured after a car ran into pedestrians outside a Newcastle sports center where people were reportedly gathered to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. Police said the incident was not believed to be terror-related. Source
  • Ten bodies found, scores missing in massive China landslide

    World News CTV News
    MAO COUNTY, China -- Rescuers recovered 10 bodies and were still searching for 93 other people on Sunday, a day after a massive landslide buried a picturesque mountain village in southwestern China. More than 2,500 rescuers with detection devices and dogs were looking for signs of life amid the rubble of huge boulders that rained down on Xinmo village in Sichuan province early Saturday. Source
  • Overturned oil tanker explodes in Pakistan, killing 153

    World News CTV News
    BAHAWALPUR , Pakistan -- An overturned oil tanker burst into flames in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 153 people who had rushed to the scene of the highway accident to gather leaking fuel, a hospital official said as the death toll continued to rise. Source