Hard Rock Casino fight footage can be used in trial

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Four years after a fight broke out near the slot machines at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation is set to hand over surveillance footage, following a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling.

The case stemmed from an incident on Sept. 13, 2019 when Gayla Lepard was playing the slots. Lepard was sitting on a stool when four people got into a fight. The fight spilled into the slot machine area and Lepard was knocked off her stool onto the floor, according to the judgment.

Surveillance cameras captured the fight.


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While everyone involved in the case agreed the footage was relevant, the BCLC argued protections needed to be in place to “prevent inadvertent disclosure” of the footage.

BCLC requested limitations on who could see the footage and how the video would be stored.

Explaining the need for those limitations, BCLC noted its casino surveillance is mandated by federal programs meant to crack down on money laundering and terrorist financing. Due to the sensitive nature of the material collected, access to video footage is treated as highly confidential and is restricted “even among casino employees,” according to the judgment.

Publicly releasing that footage could undermine the casino’s surveillance by giving away the camera locations and possible blind spots.

That footage could also risk identifying casino security staff, thus exposing them to “to heightened risk to their personal safety.”

The only objection was voiced by defendant Michael Vieira, who called BCLC’s proposed conditions “onerous and unnecessary.”

Imposing limits on who can access the footage will “introduce unnecessary expense” while exposing Vieira to potential contempt liability for an inadvertent breach of the order, counsel argued.

Master Susanna Hughes disagreed.

“This is one of those exceptional cases where additional confidentiality protections, beyond the implied undertaking, are appropriate,” Hughes wrote.

The footage is set to be released on the terms put forward by the BCLC.

BCLC is entitled to its costs from Vieira, Master Hughes wrote.

A master makes decisions about pre-trial motions and procedural orders.

The case continues.


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