RNC dis­patcher case set over to July

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - PROVINCIAL - BY ROSIE MULLALEY rmul­la­ley@thetele­gram.com Twit­ter: Te­ly­rosie

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.”

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