The evidence is closed at the trial of ex-MP Harold LeBel


The evidence in the sexual assault trial of former MP Harold LeBel is closed. The jury is expected to decide his fate next week.

The cross-examination of the accused by the Crown ended Tuesday morning, on the sixth day of hearings. The defense is expected to present its case Wednesday morning; pursuit, in the afternoon. Judge Serge Francoeur intends to give his instructions to the jurors at the beginning of next week and expects a verdict Monday or Tuesday.

The court will have heard only three witnesses in this case: a forensic identification technician, the accused and the complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban. A fourth person, who was present during the alleged events of October 2017, ultimately did not testify, having been called to the stand neither by the prosecution nor by the defence.

The prosecution attorney, Mr.e Jérôme Simard, concluded Tuesday the cross-examination of Mr. LeBel started the day before. He tried to raise contradictions between the version given by the accused to the police on the day of his arrest and that delivered during his testimony.

When he was arrested in December 2020, for example, the former elected PQ nodded when a police officer asked him if he had suffered a » blackout on the evening of the alleged assault. » I do not remember. I was sleeping,” Mr. LeBel said Tuesday.

The thread of events

Last week, the complainant had indicated to the judge and the jury that she had delayed filing a complaint for fear of “causing waves”. She says she was assaulted by Mr. LeBel in his condo in Rimouski during a party where the accused had agreed to host her and another woman.

According to the statements of those involved, the events occurred in the early morning, following a discussion over a few glasses of alcohol. According to Mr. LeBel, he and his alleged victim exchanged a kiss. The complainant would also have been hit in the thighs, she says.

“Surprise”, this one would have gone to take a shower. The accused allegedly followed her, undid her bra and tried to open the bathroom door, locked from the inside by the complainant.

« When I went to the toilet, [c’était] to ask if it was all right, ”replied the accused when questioned by his lawyer on Monday.

After going to bed in a Murphy bed, the complainant would have received a visit from her alleged attacker, who would have subjected her to unwanted touching all night long. Mr. LeBel rejects these allegations altogether. The accused agrees to have slept « fully dressed » next to the alleged victim that evening, because his bed was occupied by the other woman he was hosting at his home.

On Tuesday, he was justified in having told investigators that he had « got trapped » that evening. “The situation trapped me. I have two beds, then I have a girl in one bed, a girl in the other. The situation trapped me; I decided to go to a place,” he said when questioned by the Crown. « I should have tried to wake up a [d’elles] « , he added.

Member of the Parti Québécois from 2014 to 2020, Harold LeBel was expelled from his party’s caucus by the PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, upon his arrest. “No one is above the law,” he said.

Mr. LeBel remained in office as an independent until last month’s election.

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