Mount Pearl to appeal judge's ruling that city breached Steve Kent's privacy

·1 min read
The City of Mount Pearl has announced that it plans to appeal a recent Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court decision. (Paul Daly/CBC - image credit)
The City of Mount Pearl has announced that it plans to appeal a recent Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court decision. (Paul Daly/CBC - image credit)

The City of Mount Pearl says it will appeal a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge's ruling that it violated Steve Kent's privacy by monitoring Facebook messages among him and two councillors.

"We maintain our position that the city was fully justified in seizing and reviewing the messages in question," Mount Pearl said in a press release issued Wednesday.

At the time, Kent was on paid administrative leave from his position as Mount Pearl's top civil servant, after allegations of workplace harassment.

The city has defended its actions by saying that Kent left his city-owned iPad unlocked and his Facebook Messenger account logged in so that chat messages popped up on screen and were available without any need for a password.

The city says that, while he was on leave, Kent was "inappropriately communicating with councillors having public duties regarding the investigation."

Those chat messages were a key factor in the 2020 dismissal of the two councillors — Andrea Power and Andrew Ledwell — and Kent's decision to quit before a vote could be held to fire him.

Kent has sued the city for constructive dismissal and breach of privacy. Mount Pearl has filed a countersuit.

Power and Ledwell have filed their own court actions, to get their positions back.

The judge's decision earlier this month made those Facebook messages inadmissible in their reinstatement hearing.

Now the city says it has filed a notice with the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador to have that ruling overturned.

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