Court order bans secret video forever

'Two ordinary people . . . stood up against the provincial government for what we believe and the rights of seniors. We gave up our lives for years.'

Interior Health has agreed to drop its lawsuit against a former resident who once aired covert video of her father's alleged mistreatment in a Kamloops senior's care home.

The order, agreed to by both sides, makes permanent a strict publication ban of the video ordered by the B.C. Supreme Court in 2005. Interior Health dropped its civil action claiming defamation and invasion of privacy by Judy Sellin and her son, Reece.

IHA program director Linda Comazzetto said the order protects privacy of staff.

"Previous court orders were injunctions and temporary in nature. We were seeking something more permanent, which this order achieves."

Comazzetto said IHA considers the matter settled.

The Sellins installed a camera disguised in a teddy bear above the bed of Judy's father, 90-year-old Stephen Piccolo, at Overlander Hospital. From 240 hours of tape, the pair published a seven-minute video on the Internet called For the Sake of Seniors.

It alleged neglectful and abusive treatment by staff.

The ban forbids making the video public or describing its contents. It was briefly available on the Internet in 2005

Sellin's Kamloops lawyer, John Drayton, said the order allows his client to get on with her life and escape financial hardship.

"It was a compromise on both sides. They walked away from any damage claims money claims. There was a time when the only thing we were fighting was over the tapes and who would have them."

Drayton said IHA agreed it would no longer demand all copies of the tapes, including originals.

"At the end of the day our people (Sellins) kept the tapes but can't show them."

The order states anyone wishing to publish sound or images must have consent of IHA.

Reached Tuesday, the Sellins said they were ready to defend the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada but other circumstances hurt their ability to fight.

"We moved to Alberta to get rest and reprieve... . It took its toll," Judy said.

Citing disagreements with neighbours at their new home outside Edmonton, Judy said their efforts at advocacy and controversy in B.C. "followed us here in a negative manner.

"Two ordinary people advocated as strongly as we did and stood up against the provincial government for what we believe and the rights of seniors. We gave up our lives for years."

The pair represented themselves in earlier court actions with Interior Health. Drayton agreed to represent them pro bono (without charge) when they were pursued by IHA for defamation and invasion of privacy.

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