April 16, 2024

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SQ police officers against Radio-Canada: Journalist hunted for investigative work

SQ police officers against Radio-Canada: Journalist hunted for investigative work

A lawyer for SQ police officers sued for nearly $3 million in defamation admits that a Radio-Canada journalist is sometimes content to assess victims' credibility without further verification.

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• Read More – Val-d'Or police officers to seek $3 million from Radio-Canada for defamation

“It's the proliferation of evidence that means we've made progress in this investigation, and that's what makes the difference between the police and the press investigation,” said Josie Dupuis at Montreal's Palais de Justice this Thursday.

M. was bombarded with questionse Marco Cacchino, representing 42 Val-d'Or police officers, defended the now-retired reporter following a report broadcast by the state corporation in 2015. title SQ Abuse: Women Break the Silence, She gave voice to the indigenous women of Val-d'Or, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, who said they suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Sûreté du Québec patrol officers. The report had considerable influence and led, among other things, to the creation of the Vienna Commission on Relations between Indigenous Peoples and Public Services.

Passed over with a fine comb

However, an investigation by Montreal police did not lead to charges due to insufficient evidence. Later, 42 police officers who worked in Val-d'Or responded with a defamation lawsuit worth nearly $3 million, alleging that the state-owned company had spread “horrific” information that damaged their working conditions.

To try to prove the merits of their civil case, their lawyer Me Marco Cacchino bombarded the journalist with questions, including every detail of the evidence gathered as part of his work.

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“What, if anything, did you do to verify authenticity? [d’une des sources du reportage]??, the lawyer said, for example, regarding testimony from a woman who said she had been mistreated by a police officer who had “taken her away” in her car.

Mme Dupuis replied that the woman “seemed trustworthy” to him, and that she had been identified by a person who had gained her confidence. The lawyer did not stop there and asked the journalist if she had heard the physical description of this police officer.

“It was very difficult for her to talk when it involved police officers, she didn't want to go further than what she said, she was in shock, and that satisfied me,” replied the journalist.

Not a police investigation

As for other evidence, Mme Dupuis said the women's spontaneity made them believable, which he said was “enough.”

“The only verification I did was that I asked them about other faiths. Their testimonies were not identical. Not all women said the same thing. They told me what they experienced.

Afterwards, he recalled that one of the difficulties in his journalistic investigations was the inaccessibility of the police.

“This is not a police investigation but a journalistic investigation conducted by me,” he said. For me, it was to gather enough evidence to say that reprehensible things were happening.

Later, he recalled that he was not a police officer, but a journalist, and recalled that the job was very different.

The civil trial before Judge Babak Barr is expected to continue for several weeks.