RNC dispatcher case set over to July
The case of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary dispatcher charged with accessing private information was called in provincial court in St. John’s Monday.
Annette Kennedy wasn’t in the courtroom. She was represented by lawyer Jeff Brace.
Brace and Crown prosecutor Vikas Khaladkar agreed to set the case over to July 24.
The 49-year-old Kennedy, of Paradise, is facing three counts under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
She is a dispatcher with the RNC, a civilian position. She has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the matter.
Commissioner Donovan Molloy announced last month that a person had been charged, but neither he nor the RNC would release the name.
It’s alleged that between September and October 2016, Kennedy accessed the private information of a man, who goes by two names, and a woman, both of St. John’s. The man has criminal matters scheduled to be heard in St. Anthony provincial court in July.
The charges against Kennedy resulted from an investigation conducted after a complaint from a member of the public, police stated in a news release.
Molloy was informed by the RNC of the privacy breaches when they were discovered.
RNC chief Bill Janes said in a statement he couldn’t provide more details, as the case is now before the courts.
“On Oct.10, 2016, the RNC received a complaint from a member of the public regarding a civilian employee improperly accessing private information. Today, after an investigation by the information and privacy commissioner, three charges were laid under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015 against that employee,” Janes said.
“Employees with the RNC take an oath of confidentially and strict policies are in place to protect private information. Our employees are held to high standards around the protection of private information and regular audits are conducted to ensure adherence to these standards.
“I want to assure the public that the RNC takes any breach of privacy by one of our employees very seriously.”
Molloy told The Telegram this is the first ATIPPA offence in which his office has laid formal charges.
“All the prosecutions to date have been under the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) which involves accessing and breaching people’s personal health information,” Molloy said.
While the majority of the breaches his office encounters are inadvertent — be it through a mislabelled envelope or a wrong fax number — Molloy says it’s critical that privacy be respected.
“In any situation where a citizen’s personal information has been accessed or disclosed in an inappropriate manner the office of the information and privacy commission takes it very seriously and where there’s sufficient evidence we will proceed to initiate prosecutions,” he says.
“The fact is these things are very serious and we’re diligent about pursuing them.”