Distribution of recruit's intimate images to Brandon police caused emotional and psychological trauma, trial hears
WINNIPEG -- A former Manitoba police officer suing a woman over the distribution of her intimate images testified she experienced psychological trauma and suicidal thoughts in the aftermath of the incident.
On the first day of a trial stemming from the lawsuit, Brittany Roque told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sandra Zinchuk she was applying to become a police officer in Brandon in March 2017 when she found out the police force had received images she shared with an officer during a brief relationship.
Roque has alleged the photos were given to her potential employer without her consent as an act of revenge and retaliation but the defendant in the case disagrees.
“Our defence will revolve around public interest defence, that is going to be the main thrust of our argument,” said Rhea Majewski, a lawyer for Terry Lynn Peters, the defendant in the case.
Roque is suing Peters, a former civilian employee of the Brandon police, for at least $200,000 in damages for distributing her intimate images without her consent.
Court heard Roque was on the verge of getting hired, when the process took an unexpected turn.
“In that moment I was pretty embarrassed and shocked,” Roque, who has waived her right to a publication ban, testified.
Roque told court she created and text messaged 21 intimate images of herself to a police officer she briefly dated, who she knew was in a relationship with Peters. Roque told court the photos were meant for his eyes only.
She testified she was surprised when a member of the police service involved in the recruitment process told her police had been provided the images.
“He advised that there’s some things we need to talk about,” Roque testified.
Roque told court she was asked to voluntarily withdraw from the hiring process and when she didn’t, she was removed from the competition.
She later worked for the Rivers Police Service, but she testified the whole situation caused her to suffer from fear, anxiety and humiliation.
“I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t sleeping. My whole world was crumbling,” Roque testified, adding she worried about the images turning up on the internet and experienced suicidal thoughts.
“I had no idea whether I’d wake up tomorrow and find out they were out there.”
According to an Agreed Statement of Facts, Peters accessed her partner’s Hotmail account, found the photos of Roque and confronted Roque about the images.
In February 2017, Peters shared the photos with the deputy chief of the Brandon police.
The City of Brandon is named as a third party in the lawsuit. The city’s lawyer told court its police service received the photos as part of a background investigation in assessing Roque during the hiring process and that it didn’t share a common purpose with the defendant.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba investigated the Brandon Police Service’s actions and ruled the deputy chief’s actions in receiving the photos fell within the public good.
The trial is scheduled to continue Tuesday.