November 27, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

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Accused of sexual assault: Jury deliberates in Harold Lebel’s trial

Rimouski | The fate of former PQ MP Harold Lebel is now in the hands of a jury, which began its deliberations on Monday afternoon.

• Read more: Trial of Harold Lebel: Plaintiff participates in documentary on process

• Read more: Harold Lebel’s trial: Victim’s testimony “unbelievable,” defense urges

After receiving final instructions from Judge Serge Francoeur, 12 of the 14 members of the originally selected jury were sequestered to consider the testimony of the past two weeks.

Summarizing the entire file, the judge also reminded them of the legal concepts (Check box), particularly in relation to the principles of reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence.

“If you have a reasonable doubt as to whether he is guilty of the offense charged, you must give him the benefit of the doubt,” reminded the magistrate.

Amazing turn of events

Earlier in the day, the unexpected twist rocked the Rimouski court as the defense submitted a request to the judge to reopen the trial.

The reason? It was leaked that the complainant is currently participating in a documentary.

Mee Maxim Roy was able to bring the alleged victim back to the stand and question him about this new information.

He explained that he had not initially planned to take such action, and that the idea of ​​protecting his identity through an injunction was what prompted him to file the complaint in the first place.

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Faith in the justice system

However, Deputy Lebel changed his mind the day of his arrest, explaining that some of the details mentioned were able to identify him.

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“I have never cried so much in my life,” said the emotional young woman, noting that she chose to trust the justice system and wanted to maintain order.

The idea of ​​a documentary was proposed to him in the following months by a team from the Quebecor Bureau of Investigation.

“I will accept the steps of the legal process only if it undermines it,” explained the complainant.

Reliability is undermined according to security

Questioned by the defense, who believed such a decision would affect her credibility, the woman insisted that it was not appropriate to inform investigators and prosecutors of her media approach because she did not intervene in the project, which was scheduled for “early 2023.” And with reason, according to her.

In response, the Crown believes Monday morning’s revelations have little to do with the merits of the case that jurors must decide.

Me Manon Gaudreult invited them to ask themselves the “real impact” they should give to this information.

Now under advisement, the jury could make a decision any day.

Judgment given by Justice Francoeur to 12 judges

A jury must meet these 5 criteria to reach a guilty verdict:

  1. had direct or indirect contact;
  2. Harold LeBel intentionally touched the complainant;
  3. He touched the woman in a sexual manner;
  4. The alleged victim did not consent to the contact;
  5. The accused knew or had reason to believe that the victim was not consenting.