'Zoom bombing' interrupts virtual court proceedings of former WRPS officer
KITCHENER -- Virtual court proceedings, in a civil case involving a former officer and the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board, were interrupted by pornographic images and swastikas Tuesday morning.
It appeared the screen sharing feature was used to project the images to attendees of the Zoom call. Images were shown intermittently for several minutes, as the court registrar attempted to find a solution, and lawyer Donald Jarvis, representing the police board, continued to make his submissions.
Justice Thomas Beilby noted the images, which he described as completely inappropriate, and asked if they were visible to everyone on the call.
The court’s registrar attempted to identify which participant or participants of the call were responsible, in order to remove them, but told court she was having difficulty because the images kept disappearing.
The images did eventually stop after some participants were removed from the call, but not before causing several interruptions.
Following a mid-morning break, the registrar said a participant in the call helped identify a solution to ensure the issue did not happen again, and there were no further interruptions during the morning session.
The case being heard involves former Waterloo regional police Const. Kelly Donovan, who claims the WRPS breached the terms of her resignation agreement. Donovan resigned in June 2017. Those allegations have not been proven in court.
In Tuesday's proceeding, lawyers for the police service were arguing that the case does not fall under the jurisdiction of the civil courts.
The case is being heard in Brampton’s Superior Court of Justice.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General's office said using videoconferencing platforms for remote hearings during the pandemic has "unique challenges."
"Security mechanisms exist to reduce the potential for unauthorized individuals to interrupt or display offensive material during virtual court hearings," a statement said in part. "We will be reviewing these mechanisms with the courts and court staff to ensure the dignity and integrity of court proceedings are not subjected to unauthorized and offensive interruptions."
The spokesperson said police have been notified of the incident.