13 march 2019 17h29
Updated at 18h02
Gabrielle has been waiting for 40 months, the trial against his father
Gabrielle*, has denounced his father, who, she says, has taken her virginity the night of her 13 years. The young woman waits for the trial from November 2015. She will be patient still, has decided the Court of Québec, until the return of the lawyer chosen by the accused.
Where is the constitutional right of an accused to be defended by a lawyer of his choice? The sad story of Gabrielle, a young woman who has had 20 years ago this week, raises the question.
For nearly three years, between march 2012 and January 2015, the complainant alleged that she was forced by her father to have sex on a regular basis.
It was denounced at the beginning of the year 2015. The 47-year-old, who lives on the South Shore of Quebec city, has been arrested and has appeared for the first time before the tribunal on 6 November 2015. The Crown has approved charges of sexual assault, incest, sexual contact, incitement to sexual touching and luring computer.
The public ministry says it is ready to proceed on march 9, 2016.
Anxious, Gabrielle came to the court for the first time to the preliminary investigation, on April 30, 2017. His father shone by its absence. The court has had to issue a warrant of arrest against him.
Back before the court on August 22, 2017, the father waives his preliminary inquiry and trial is set for April 2018.
Two months before trial, counsel for the father requested to withdraw from the case because his client does not pay his fees. The Court of Québec authorizes the withdrawal of the lawyer, but the accused that the trial should be held as scheduled from the April 9, 2018.
On day 1 of the trial, Gabrielle and the witnesses are again all present. The father comes up with a new lawyer who asked for and obtained a postponement of trial to become familiar with the file.
In September 2018, it again sets the trial date of 10 days to march 25, 2019. The coordinating judge of the Court of Québec, Jean-Louis Lemay, urged the father; the trial will be, whether he is represented or not.
The trial will not happen on this date.
The judge Annie Trudel of the Court of Quebec has accepted on Wednesday the request for the surrender of a trial made by the defense.
The defense lawyer, the fourth, chosen by the father is on sick leave for a few weeks. Before leaving, he accepted the mandate and the fees have been paid into his trust account.
The Crown attorney, Me Michel Bérubé opposed with all his forces to the delivery of the trial. Gabrielle is right that the case will finally move on to something else, has he hammered. The more time that passes, the more the memory of witnesses fades, and the more the evidence of the prosecution crumbles, reminded Me Bérubé.
A defense lawyer was available to act as friend of the court and conduct the cross-examination of the complainant, if the trial went forward without a lawyer.
The judge Trudel has lamented the delays, but felt that after years of nonchalance, the accused had made an effort to raise money and pay for a lawyer. Absence for illness of the lawyer of his choice is a valid reason, recognized by the courts, reminded the judge Trudel.
The Crown attorney, Me Michel Bérubé may not appeal this decision, interlocutory. Jaw tight, he could only take his agenda and noted the next date of court, may 8, to set a trial date. Back in his office, he will announce the news to Gabrielle.
In July 2016, the judgment in Jordan the supreme Court has fixed at 18 months the maximum time that is reasonable for the cases heard by the provincial courts.
* not her real name. The identity of the complainant is protected by a publication ban.