N.S. fine-tuning cyberbullying law prompted by Parsons death, minister says

A Nova Scotia anti-cyberbullying law prompted by the death of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons five years ago Saturday is still being fine-tuned.

The legislature passed the new Intimate Images and Cyber-protection Act last fall, but Justice Minister Mark Furey says his department is still working to simplify some of its language to make it more "user friendly."

The previous Cyber-safety Act, the first of its kind in Canada, was struck down in late 2015 after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled that it infringed on Charter rights.

Furey says the new law should be proclaimed by June, and he's confident it is a balanced approach that protects victims of cyberbullying while preserving rights such as freedom of expression.

The new law redefines cyberbullying as an electronic action that is ``maliciously intended to cause harm'' or as an action carried out in a reckless manner ``with regard to the risk of harm.'' It also creates civil remedies in cases involving cyberbullying and the distribution of images without consent.

The previous law was passed in 2013 as part of the response to the April 7, 2013, death of Parsons, a Halifax-area girl who had been bullied.

She attempted suicide and was taken off life support after a digital photo of what her family says was a sexual assault was circulated among students at her school in Cole Harbour, N.S.