A hundred demonstrators opposing the conditional discharge of Trois-Rivières engineer Simon Houle were gathered in front of the Trois-Rivières courthouse on Friday noon.
The demonstrators denounced, among other things, the “too lenient” sentence imposed by Judge Matthieu Poliquin and did not hesitate to proclaim their opinion loud and clear, with a loud “fuck you Mr. “where is the justice”.
This kind of comment has not been uncommon since the public release of the sentence.
“There is clearly an attempt at intimidation”, declared Trois-Rivières lawyer Michel Lebrun.
“I think the courts act independently and know how to guard against this type of behavior. […] Judge Poliquin said it well in his decision, it is a person who is judged. No two files are identical. You really have to look at the facts of this case,” he explained.
For the CALACS of Trois-Rivières, which organized the event with two other organizations, this judgment will have a negative impact on women victims of sexual crimes. “At the protest, I met a woman whom I have accompanied for the past few years. She is awaiting her trial. She's been in the legal process for four years. A situation like this has a direct impact on his confidence, his esteem and his hope,” testified the intervener Marie-Soleil Desrosiers.
Besides, the victim of Simon Houle also suffered significant difficulties, whether psychological, physical or social.
In a 17-page document, we can read a list of the consequences with which the victim lives daily: sadness, disappointment, anger, frustration, shame, embarrassment, fear of meeting the accused, hypervigilance , loss of confidence, isolation, insomnia, nightmares, feelings of guilt and injustice.
“His consumption of alcohol and drugs has increased. Dark thoughts led to his hospitalization in psychiatry for seven days. She also consulted several psychologists. Intimacy with her spouse was affected for several months,” the document reads.
It also states that “several school absences have led to failures and delayed the end of his university career by one session. She was off work for five months, resulting in financial hardship for more than two years. Although there were no physical injuries to speak of, the extent of his psychological injuries indirectly caused him physical pain. The length of the legal process caused him disappointment and stress. His family and spouse also experienced misunderstanding and frustration, increasing the victim's sense of guilt. Over time, his fears of seeing the accused again or of placing himself in a similar situation again diminished.”
Despite the effects on the victim, the judge explained that “a conditional discharge is a fair and appropriate response here. It is not up to the courts to exclude penalties that the legislator himself has not excluded”, can we read in the judgment.
Recall that the judge opted for a conditional discharge accompanied a donation of $6,000 to CALACS in Trois-Rivières. The Court also ordered the accused to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act for a period of twenty years.
Background < /p>
The judge described the facts as follows: “In April 2019, the defendant and the victim attend the same university. They do not study in the same field, but they know each other, since they are part of the same group of friends. On the evening of the events, they are in a bar with several friends. There is alcohol consumption. When the establishment closed, some of them, including the accused and the victim, continued the evening at a friend's lodging. Here, the accused and the victim talk together. It is particularly a question of the loss of a parent each on their side. This discussion makes the victim emotional. She phones her mother who offers to pick her up. The victim replies that it is not necessary. The accused also reassures the mother. A little later, the victim goes to the room of the tenant of the apartment. She lies down in her bed next to him. She is on her back, dressed and over the covers. She falls asleep while the accused is not in the room.
The victim is awakened by the light of a camera. She feels fingers in her vagina moving back and forth. She also feels that her camisole is lifted and her bra is unfastened from the front. She panics. She moves slightly and the accused withdraws his fingers from her vagina. She gets up, ties her bra, pulls down her camisole and goes to the kitchen where she lies down on the floor. The accused joins her. He takes her in his arms and brings her back to the bedroom on the bed. She ends up falling asleep. When she wakes up, she realizes what happened to her during the night.
She calls her spouse and tells him that she believes the accused took pictures of her while she was sleeping. The victim’s spouse confronts the accused by text messages. Quickly, the accused joins the victim in the bedroom and throws his phone at him, telling him to look. Without looking into the phone, she asks him to leave, which the accused does. A few days later, a friend of the accused, aware that this event had happened, looked into the accused's phone. He then finds, in the bin of the camera, photos of a woman's private parts. He informs the victim who officially lodges a complaint with the police.
Nine photos are recovered from the cell of the accused. They are shown to the victim who recognizes his body. The accused is arrested and remains free throughout the judicial process”.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128