(Quebec) On the seventh day of the sexual assault trial of former MP Harold LeBel, defense and prosecution lawyers each made a final attempt to convince the jury at the Rimouski courthouse.
“I consider that the complainant’s testimony is implausible, the accumulation of implausibilities is too great”, summarized in his argument Mr.e Maxime Roy, who represents the former elected member of the Parti Québécois.
According to him, the account given by the complainant of that evening in October 2017 during which Mr. LeBel allegedly tried to kiss her, undo her bra and caressed her buttocks while she was lying, paralyzed, on a bed, is peppered with incongruities.
Me Roy is amazed that his client succeeded “on the first try, with one hand, to unfasten her bra”. Or that the plaintiff, whom a court order prohibits naming, went to bed after this episode without worrying “about the fate of her friend who sleeps next door”.
“As she trembles with fear, just minutes after she decides to undress and take a shower” in the locked bathroom, said Me Roy to the members of the jury. “How can you be more vulnerable than naked in a shower? »
“Where is the text? »
It was at this time of the evening that the complainant said that she had written to her friend and colleague who was sleeping in the same apartment. “Ask yourself the question: where is the text message? Why didn’t she keep it? Are you convinced by his explanation? asked the defense attorney.
The complainant said she was never able to find this message in her phone, which basically said: “WTF, Harold is weird. She explained that she believed it disappeared among her iMessages since she had exchanged a lot with her friend in the last years and that this text message would have been erased by the system.
The young woman, however, kept an exchange of emails from February 2020 with the accused, in which he asks her forgiveness, does not deny what she blames him for and writes: “I have no memory of any of this. »
“It’s a response that was made quickly, in a rushed way, tried to explain Me Roy. He fell out of his chair and awkwardly, rather than confronting her, tried to pick up the pieces. »
The Crown unsurprisingly insisted on these emails from Harold LeBel. “Do you apologize for things you didn’t do? Do you regret things you didn’t do? asked the Crown prosecutor, Ms.e Manon Gaudreault.
She reminded the jury that the one who was a deputy at the time of the alleged facts told the police “having had a blackout during the night”, or that he did not really remember what had happened.
Not only psychopaths
In court, Harold LeBel said instead that he was sure he had slept that night, that he had not touched the complainant, but that he had woken up with his hands on her randomly. some sleep.
Maxime Roy recalled the text messages exchanged the next day. Mr. LeBel had made a point of writing to the complainant in the morning. “For more than five hours, he caresses her buttocks and anus, and the next morning writes to her: “Thank you for letting me stick to you”, launched Me Roy. Who would do that? A psychopath would do that. »
“I tell you right now, it’s not just psychopaths who commit sexual assaults,” retorted the Crown prosecutor in her closing argument.
“Look at all the evidence […] You won’t be able to see anything other than a sexual assault,” concluded Ms.e Gaudreault.
The arguments over, the judge intends to give his instructions to the jurors on Monday. The jury made up of 14 citizens – 10 women and 4 men – will be reduced to 12. Judge Serge Francœur, of the Superior Court, had chosen to appoint two more as a precaution. Several juries had been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years.
After receiving his instructions, the jury should deliberate on Monday in order to render a unanimous verdict.