Criminal charge in Western Health breach should be resolved this fall

Gary Kean
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CORNER BROOK  The former Western Health employee accused of inappropriately accessing the patient files of 1,043 people is expected to enter a plea to the single charge against her Nov. 29.

When the matter of Donna Colbourne was called in provincial court in Corner Brook Tuesday morning, defence lawyer James Goodwin informed Judge Kymil Howe and Crown prosecutor Vikas Khaladkar that his client wanted the case to be set for a speedy disposition.

The lawyers, both of whom appeared by teleconference, said it would likely take about two hours to conclude the matter on that date.

Colbourne was charged with violating the Personal Health Information Act by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner on April 25. It is alleged she inappropriately accessed the patient files from June 2011 to May 2012.

Colbourne was employed as a clerk at Western Memorial Regional Hospital at the time the privacy breaches occurred.

Western Health went public with the breaches in August 2012, following an internal investigation that resulted in Colbourne's dismissal. The matter was brought to the attention of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commission, which conducted its own investigation that resulted in the charge against Colbourne.

Colbourne is also named as a defendant in a class-action lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in relation to the breaches.

Organizations: Western Memorial Regional Hospital, Office of the Information and Privacy Commission, Supreme Court

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Newfoundland and Labrador

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