Jury deliberates at LeBel trial
The fate of former PQ MP Harold LeBel is now in the hands of the jury, which began its deliberations late Monday afternoon.
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After receiving final instructions from Judge Serge Francoeur, 12 of the 14 members of the jury initially selected were sequestered to consider the evidence presented to them over the past two weeks.
Summarizing all of the evidence, the judge also reminded the jurors of legal concepts, particularly with regard to the principles of reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence.
Reminder of the allegations
Harold LeBel is accused of sexual assault by a woman who was visiting him in the fall of 2017. The complainant was passing through Rimouski for work and was staying with the former MP, who was a trusted friend. she confided. A friend was with her at the time.
During the second evening at Mr. LeBel’s condo, while the group was having a few drinks and talking, the third person decided to go to sleep in the member’s room, to allow him and the alleged victim to continue talking in the kitchen.
It was at this point that LeBel and the woman kissed, a kiss described as consensual by the accused and forced by the complainant. Leaving the dining room, the accused then undid her bra through her clothes.
Taking refuge in the bathroom, the complainant described LeBel as being “insistent” and aggressive through the door. Once in bed, she was joined by the deputy who allegedly asked permission to sleep with her.
This is where Harold LeBel allegedly touched the alleged victim, going so far as to try to insert a finger into his buttocks.
The former MP for Rimouski refuted these allegations, only confirming the kiss exchanged and the fact that he slept in the same bed as the woman. The aggression would be an invention in his opinion. « I have never done that. »
On texts and emails changed after the fact, LeBel mentioned having « fell out of his chair » after being confronted by the complainant. Writing that he had « no memory of any of this », he specified in cross-examination that he had used the term « blackout » with the police not to describe his state with regard to alcohol, but rather to talk about when he was asleep next to the woman.
As for going to sleep with the alleged victim rather than going to his own bed by asking his two guests to join in the same bed as the day before, he described the whole thing as a bad decision in hindsight. .
“I got trapped in the situation. I have two beds. There is a girl in one bed and a girl in the other. I was like trapped. I should have woken one and told her to join the other. I had never planned all that, ”said Mr. LeBel.