Trial of Dany Fortin: the defense relies on the “contradictions” of the accuser

Dany Fortin's trial: the defense relies on the «contradictions

DAY

During the final plea to prove the innocence of Major-General Dany Fortin, the military's lawyer noted a series of “contradictions” from the accuser and relied on the presumption of innocence of his client, arguing that a conviction in this case would represent a “dangerous” precedent.  

The soldier, to whom Ottawa had entrusted the task of distributing vaccines against Covid-19 during 2021, is accused of having sexually assaulted the complainant in a dormitory at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu military college in 1988. 

Last month, the accuser told the court that she was woken up by the soldier after he took one of her hands to masturbate without her consent, an assertion that Mr. Fortin categorically denies. . 

“Flaws” in the story, according to the lawyer

At the Gatineau courthouse on Monday, the principal's lawyer, Isabel Schurman, insisted that the complainant's story, despite its “sincerity”, contained multiple “flaws” casting doubt on its “reliability” and its “credibility”. 

Several elements of the accuser's testimony in court differed from the version previously given to police investigators at the time of the complaint, according to the lawyer.   

Among other things, the accuser had told the police that she had been sexually touched, before saying during cross-examination that no gesture of this nature had been made. 

She also said that she could not remember which of her hands had been grabbed to masturbate the accused and could not remember what the other hand was doing at the time.  

Moreover, the accuser had initially told the police that the event dated back to 1989 rather than 1988, as she now claims.

Another central element of the plea of ​​no -guilt lay in the approximate identification of the accused, in a context where the dormitory was very dimly lit at the time of the alleged assault. This background made it difficult to know how the alleged assailant was dressed, or even to recognize his facial features, she admitted. 

The accuser, whose name is subject to a publication ban, had told the police that she had recognized Mr. Fortin because of his “French” accent when he spoke in English, before telling the court that 'no word was said during the alleged act. 

 Finally, the then accuser said she reported the alleged assault to her then-boyfriend immediately after it ended. Called to testify by the defence, the man in question said he had no memory of this event. 

An upcoming outcome 

Prosecutor Diane Legault must deliver her final plea Tuesday morning at the Gatineau courthouse. The judge is expected to deliver his verdict on Dany Fortin's guilt later this week. 'last year. This is the first military-related sexual assault case to end up in civilian court since 1998.