Rimouski | The fate of former PQ MP Harold Lebel is now in the hands of a jury, which began its deliberations on Monday afternoon.
After receiving final instructions from Judge Serge Francoeur, 12 of the 14 members of the originally selected jury considered the testimony of the past two weeks.
Summarizing the entire file, the judge also reminded them of the legal aspects (See the box), particularly in relation to the principles of reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence.
“If you have a reasonable doubt whether he is guilty of the offense charged, you should give him the benefit of the doubt,” reminded the magistrate.
Amazing turn of events
Earlier in the day, Rimoski took an unexpected twist in court when the defense submitted a request to the judge to reopen the trial.
The reason? It is reported that the complainant is currently participating in a documentary.
Your Maxim Roy was thus able to bring the alleged victim back to the stand and question him about this new information.
She said she initially did not intend to take such action, and the idea of protecting her identity through the order initially convinced her to file the complaint.
Listen to the news brief with Mario Dumont live every day at 4:35 PM. by QUB-Radio:
Faith in the legal system
However, the day of Deputy Lebel’s arrest changed him, explaining that certain details made it possible to identify him.
“I have never cried in my life like the days that followed,” the young woman testified emotionally, adding that she chose to trust the justice system and wanted to maintain order.
In the following months a team from the Quebecor Investigation Bureau proposed the idea of a documentary to him.
“The only thing I agree with is that the stages of the judicial process are perverted,” the complainant explained.
Credibility is impaired according to the defense
When questioned by the defense, who believed that such a decision would affect her credibility, the woman insisted that it was not enough for her to inform investigators and prosecutors of her media policy, as the project scheduled for “early 2023” did not interfere. According to her, for a reason.
In turn, the Crown believes Monday morning’s revelations have little to do with the merits of the case, which must be decided by the jury.
Me Manon Gaudreault invited them to ask themselves the “real effect” they should give to this information.
Now, as advised, the jury could make a decision any day.
Judge Francoeur’s decision tree for 12 judges
A jury must agree to these 5 criteria to reach a guilty verdict:
- There is direct or indirect contact;
- Harold Lebel intentionally touched the complainant;
- He touches a woman in situations of a sexual nature;
- The alleged victim did not consent to contact;
- The accused knew or had reason to believe that the victim did not consent.