Absolution granted to a sexual aggressor: the DPCP will appeal
While the Crown claimed 18 months from prison, Simon Houle was granted a conditional discharge.
In the wake of the conditional discharge of an engineer from Trois-Rivières, who sexually assaulted a woman and took photos of her private parts while she slept, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) indicated on Tuesday that he will appeal the decision.
We can fully understand the distress and frustration of the victims, said Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette. Given ongoing legal proceedings, we will make no further comment, he added.
The conditional discharge was granted to Simon Houle by the Court of Quebec last month in order to allow him to avoid having a criminal record and to be able to travel for his work.
In April 2019, Simon Houle, then a mechanical engineering student at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières, sexually assaulted one of her friends at a party in an apartment. The woman, who was sleeping in a bedroom, had been awakened by the light from a camera. She had then felt fingers in her vagina. Her camisole was up and her bra was open. Nine photos of his private parts were found in his attacker's cell phone.
More than two years later, the engineer pleaded guilty to assault charges sexuality and voyeurism. Simon Houle's employer said on Tuesday morning that he had dismissed Simon Houle.
The decision of the Court of Quebec provoked a lot of reactions in the political, judicial and community.
According to Mélanie Lemay, co-founder of the organization Quebec Against Sexual Violence, this judge's decision has allowed us to prove that there is still a long way to go to facilitate access to justice for all victims of sexual assault.
Mélanie Lemay is co-founder of the Quebec movement against sexual violence.
According to her, the new courts specializing in sexual violence will not ensure that this type of decision will not happen again, because we live in a system that remains centered on the rights of the aggressors and their rehabilitation, while the word of the victims and the consequences on their lives are not taken into consideration.
In an interview on the show Midi info, Rachel Chagnon, professor at the Department of Legal Sciences at UQAM, emphasized that in determining a sentence, the appearance of justice counts as much as justice itself so that the public has confidence in the system.
“In a world where we recognize that historically we have not been tough enough, that we are not x27;has not sent a sufficiently clear message regarding the seriousness of sexual assault, does a sentence that appears relatively benevolent at first glance send the message we want to send? »
— Rachel Chagnon, professor in the Department of Legal Sciences at UQAM
This is an extremely disturbing judgment, according to PQ MP Véronique Hivon. She is surprised at certain passages in the judgment. After all the MoiAussi movement, after all the denunciations and the awareness that we have collectively made on this scourge of sexual violence, to read to what extent we can minimize, in a judgment of our courts, it goes beyond the limits understanding.
What troubled the member for Joliette was to read that the duration of the assault had an impact on the judge's decision, but also that a previous assault by the same man was not taken into account.
Contrary to Ms. Lemay, Véronique Hivon believes that the specialized courts will make it possible to #x27;Avoid this kind of pitfall, because judges will be continuously trained on the very specific realities of sexual assault.
With information from Geneviève Garon