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N.L. planning legislation against revenge porn

Minister of Justice and Public Safety Andrew Parsons speaks talks about challenges and positive developments in the justice system during his speech to members of the Canadian Bar Association — Newfoundland and Labrador at the group’s mid-winter conference luncheon Friday afternoon at Marble Mountain Resort in Steady Brook.
Minister of Justice and Public Safety Andrew Parsons speaks talks about challenges and positive developments in the justice system during his speech to members of the Canadian Bar Association — Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook recently. - Dave Kearsey

Law will address non-consensual sharing of private images

In a time when capturing and sharing photos and videos is as simple as a few taps to a phone screen, Newfoundland and Labrador is introducing new legislation to help battle against so-called revenge porn.

“To those people that think that there’s any reasonable excuse for sharing that image without somebody’s consent, there is none. There is none whatsoever,” said Justice Minister Andrew Parsons, speaking with The Telegram Friday. “And if they choose to do that maliciously, then there are repercussions for it.”

The non-consensual sharing of private images involving nudity or sexual activity is already barred under the Criminal Code of Canada. But the province is able to address civil actions - providing victims with additional, and often more immediate, remedies.

Cases here would need to be proven only on a balance of probabilities, and victims would not have to prove damage before legal orders can be made, including orders to remove images posted online.

The new law is expected to allow for financial compensation to be ordered for victimized individuals, and orders of punitive damages. The message is essentially if you share private images without the subject’s consent, you can expect to literally pay.

“The main goal would be deterrence,” Parsons said, noting that it can be devastating for individuals, making general reference to cases where victims have physically harmed themselves, even killed themselves, after images of them were shared without consent.

He said threats to share images and videos are also not acceptable.

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Corner Brook man sentenced to eight months in jail for revenge porn

They have happened in this province. Late last year in Corner Brook, Kyle Stephen Hunt was sentenced to nine months in prison for extortion, after threatening to post sexually explicit images of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook after she ended their relationship. The sentence was reduced by 240 days for time already in custody.

Parsons said it will take some time yet to finish putting together the draft provincial legislation. In doing so, he said, the province is looking to the lessons learned in other jurisdictions in Canada where it similar law has already been introduced.

He expects the bill to be introduced at the House of Assembly in the fall, but would also not rule out something coming sooner.

ashley.fitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

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