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'I've got footage of you kissing him': Bar hook-up posted online

Author
Jeremy Wilkinson,
Publish Date
Sat, 2 Jul 2022, 3:23pm
A staff member of The Residence shared footage of a man and woman kissing with the man's wife, prompting an assault by his partner. (Photo / Melissa Nightingale)
A staff member of The Residence shared footage of a man and woman kissing with the man's wife, prompting an assault by his partner. (Photo / Melissa Nightingale)

'I've got footage of you kissing him': Bar hook-up posted online

Author
Jeremy Wilkinson,
Publish Date
Sat, 2 Jul 2022, 3:23pm

A woman who was violently assaulted at a bar after CCTV footage of her kissing a man was shared with his partner has lodged a complaint with the Privacy Commission. 

The woman, who doesn't want to be named, was drinking at The Residence bar in Wellington when she was punched in the head from behind while ordering a drink in October last year. 

Not long before that she'd kissed a man she'd met that night. Unbeknownst to her, a staff member was watching through the closed circuit television cameras and filmed the pair on her phone before sending it to the man's partner. 

His partner and her friend then stormed the bar and attacked the woman, punching her to the ground where she lost consciousness before waking up in the bathroom. 

The woman, who suffered a concussion and was unable to work for close to three months, alleges the staff member refused to get her help so she had to call for an ambulance herself. 

"You kissed my mate's boyfriend, you're banned and that's why she hit you. I've got footage of you kissing him," she claims the staff member said. 

The employee has refuted the woman's version of events but did not want to comment any further about what happened that night. 

A 22-year-old and a 24-year-old woman have since been convicted of assault in the Wellington District Court. 

Now, the woman wants the bar held accountable and has made a complaint to the Privacy Commission. 

"It's about accountability. I want justice served to that staff member and the premises," the woman told Open Justice. 

"I care about other women like me who go out to have a good time and have their privacy breached." 

Privacy expert and lawyer Rick Shera told Open Justice that if a company is collecting personal information via CCTV it has to be for a legitimate purpose, and once collected it can only be used for that purpose. 

It was his opinion that "in this instance the disclosure of information was clearly not the purpose for which it was being collected". 

Once a complaint has been made to the Privacy Commission an investigation will be done to determine if it's a serious breach of privacy. 

From there it can be forwarded to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, which has the power to award damages. 

Shera believed in this case the woman had a reasonable expectation to think that any CCTV footage of her in the bar wouldn't be disclosed. 

"Why on earth the bar thought this was appropriate is beyond me," he said. 

The woman's 19-year-old son saw the video after it was published by the man's partner on Instagram with the title "loves a home wrecker". 

"It took a long time to heal from that," she said. 

"I'm very private in my social life, for me to get back my boy's trust was a big thing for me." 

She's seeking a written apology with an acknowledgement a severe breach of privacy resulted in physical and mental harm, as well as damages totalling $25,000. 

She said instead of filming the kiss and setting off a chain of events that led to her being assaulted, it was the staff member's responsibility to de-escalate the situation. 

"She has a duty of care and that doesn't involve stitching-up the patrons." 

One of the owners of The Residence, Jose Ubiaga, told Open Justice he couldn't comment on the Privacy Commission complaint but confirmed the staff member involved was still employed there. 

Privacy Commission guidelines on CCTV use state that it's difficult to justify the public release of footage. 

"Releasing CCTV footage to the public can have a serious impact on the privacy of the individuals in the footage. Once something is uploaded to the internet it can be difficult if not impossible to remove that information. 

"If you publicly release footage you may breach the Privacy Act."