The court has awarded an unidentified woman nearly $94,000 after her stepfather secretly videotaped her in the shower.
In a B.C. Supreme Court decision delivered Tuesday in Duncan, Justice Douglas Thompson ruled the woman should receive $85,000 in general damages, as well as further awards for past loss of earning capacity, cost of future care and special damages for a total of $93,850.
“The plaintiff is a young woman who was in her home, a place where she was entitled to feel comfortable and safe. It is not surprising that having a family member so profoundly violate her trust and invade her personal privacy has caused serious harm,” Thompson wrote in his decision. “The defendant wanted to cause harm to the plaintiff. He accomplished his aim, and the harm has manifested both emotionally and physically.
“The defendant put his own selfish motivations of sexual gratification and feeling able to punish the plaintiff ahead of the plaintiff’s dignity and other important privacy interests. This was disloyal in the extreme and a breach of the relationship of trust between family members that the law imposes in circumstances such as existed in this case.”
The plaintiff described many psychological and emotional problems in the wake of the discovery of the recordings, including depression, anxiety, mood swings, panic attacks, flashbacks, hypervigilance, irrational fears, loss of confidence and self-esteem, and suicidal ideation.
The judgement was based on four incidents that occurred in the family home in the Duncan area when the woman was 20 and 21.
Criminal charges were also filed after the woman discovered the recordings in July of 2011. The defendant pleaded guilty to voyeurism and received a suspended sentence with three years’ probation. His conviction also led to his registration as a sex offender.