The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) on Friday responded to a $10 million civil lawsuit filed by Jonathan Pettus, long considered by provincial police the prime suspect in the murder of Cedrica Provenger.
Jonathan Bettes, the Sûreté du Québec, criticizes him for doing everything to convince the public that he is a murderer and a pedophile.
However, in a document filed in a Montreal court last Friday, SQ lawyers indicated that, in their opinion, there was no reason to pursue the case. They are asking the court to deny the Bettus family’s request.
Prosecutors assert that his right to the presumption of innocence has not been violated. “The presumption of innocence cannot be overridden in the absence of a criminal charge,” reads an excerpt from the court document.
After several hearings, SQ’s attorneys are preparing a written argument in response to the Bettus family’s request. “We will deny many of the assertions, we will argue that there was no wrongdoing, certainly no motive and no reason for these damages. Even though he was always the first person targeted, he was never charged,” explained retired judge Nicole Gibeault.
Jonathan Betts alleges that police conducted illegal searches, seizures and searches based on misleading information. He was arrested in 2016 and later acquitted of all child molestation charges against him.
SQ replied that the police did not do anything wrong. “The defendants had every right to initiate a fresh trial based on a presumption. And the future shows that these intuitions are justified,” the document states.
“There was a difficult decision in the Quebec court to stop the proceedings because we were conducting illegal searches. […] You will not seize goods unless you have a warrant. We can go there on instinct, but as a police officer we have to refine our instincts until we find the reasons,” says Ms Gibeault.
Prosecutors also ruled that the more than $10 million in damages sought by the Bettus family were “grossly exaggerated.” It is reported that there is no evidence that the police had a desire to intentionally harm Jonathan Bettus, and that they could not foresee all the consequences the family claims, such as the possible sale of the Bettus packaging business.
As for his right to remain silent, it is reiterated that Jonathan Pettus has never waived it. The document notes that investigators always respected his wishes, evidence that he never passed a polygraph test.
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