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Peeping Tom Ordered to Pay $93,850 For Recording Step-Daughter

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Duncan Registry, ordering a peeping tom Defendant to pay $93,850 in damages for recording his step-daughter while she was showering and otherwise undressed.
In today’s case (TKL v. TMP) the Court was presented with the following statement of facts –
[16]         On four occasions in the first half of 2011, the defendant surreptitiously video-recorded the plaintiff while she was in the shower and for a period of time shortly after she left the shower. The plaintiff was 20-years-old the first time this happened; on the latter three occasions she was 21. In July 2011, the plaintiff came across the videos on the defendant’s camera. The matter was reported to the RCMP.
[17]         The agreed statement of facts referenced earlier includes a recitation of what was depicted on the video recordings. The following summary of the four recordings is drawn from the agreed statement of facts:
13 January 2011
The plaintiff is seen exiting the bathroom door and entering into her bedroom. She is wearing a towel wrapped around her body and has a towel wrapped around her head. She closes her bedroom door and walks around in her bedroom. She gathers her clothes and takes off her towels. Her entire body, including her buttocks, genital area and breasts are captured on the video clip and in the reflection of mirrors that are against her bedroom wall. She is seen bending over to pull up her underwear.
8 May 2011
The plaintiff is seen entering into the stand-up shower with a clear glass door. She is completely naked and the video-recording captures images of her vagina, breasts and buttocks. It also shows her masturbating in the shower for a couple of minutes. She is next seen shaving and trimming her pubic hair, and shaving her armpits and legs. She then goes back to masturbating and eventually sits on the shower stall floor. She exits the shower stall and dries off.
22 May 2011
The defendant is holding the camera, pointed at the shower through a gap in the bathroom door frame. He adjusts the angle and zooms in at various times, capturing images of the plaintiff’s vagina, buttocks and breasts. He zooms in on her nipples, zooms out and then re-zooms on her face. She masturbates. After a few minutes of masturbating she washes and conditions her hair, with her arms extended over her shoulders. She is seen getting out of the shower, and images of her breasts, buttocks and vagina are clearly captured.
12 June 2011
The defendant is holding the camera, pointed at the shower through a gap in the bathroom door frame. The plaintiff can be seen in the shower completely naked. She is captured exiting the shower and her breasts and vagina are within view.
In finding these actions breached BC’s Privacy Act and assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice Thompson provided the following reasons:
20]         By spying on and video-recording the plaintiff as described above, the defendant committed disturbing violations of the plaintiff’s personal privacy. Subsection 1(1) of the Privacy Act provides that it is a tort for a person, wilfully and without a claim of right, to violate the privacy of another. Little analysis is necessary on the facts of this case to reach the conclusion that the defendant has committed this statutory tort. The defendant acted wilfully. The plaintiff was entitled to the highest degree of privacy when showering with the bathroom door closed, and changing her clothes in her bedroom with the door closed. The nature and occasions of the defendant’s conduct make it apparent that his actions violated the plaintiff’s privacy. The defendant’s liability for the statutory tort is beyond question…
[52]         My sense is that the plaintiff in the case at bar has suffered a greater degree of pain, disability, emotional suffering, impairment of family and social relationships, and loss of lifestyle than the plaintiffs in the Malcolm and L.A.M. cases. I conclude that the quantum of compensatory damages awarded in those cases would be wholly inadequate compensation in the case at bar. I award $85,000 for general damages, of which $25,000 is allotted to take account of the aggravated features of the case — I agree with the plaintiff that the damages ought to be significantly increased in response to the defendant’s thoroughly undignified and humiliating actions.

bc injury law, BC Privacy Act, Mr. Justice Thompson, TKL v. TMP