UPAC suspects four of its police officers of having committed acts criminals.
Four police officers from the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC) are in the crosshairs of the Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI) for “allegations of criminal acts” , Commissioner Frédérick Gaudreau said in a press release on Thursday afternoon.
This time, the case is linked to the stay of proceedings enjoyed by the former mayor of Terrebonne Jean-Marc Robitaille and his co-defendants on October 18. The investigation was ordered by the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, at the request of Commissioner Gaudreau, explains the latter.
According to article 286 of the Police Act, the Commissioner “must immediately inform the Minister of any allegation relating to a criminal offense committed by a police officer, unless he considers, after consulting the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions , that the allegation is frivolous or baseless”, he recalls.
The allegations target two UPAC managers and two investigators. These were assigned to administrative tasks. So far, no charges have been brought against them.
The two executives involved – UPAC number 2, Sylvain Baillargeon, and the head of the intelligence service, Janik Lacoursière – had already been transferred to administrative duties in November.
Former Mayor Robitaille and three co-accused were facing charges of corruption and breach of trust when a stay of proceedings was decreed in their favor in a very harsh judgment at the Court. regard to the prosecutors of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP).
In addition to Jean-Marc Robitaille, his former chief of staff Daniel Bélec, the former deputy director general of Terrebonne Luc Papillon and entrepreneur Normand Trudel were also targeted by the lawsuit.
The four accused were arrested by UPAC in March 2018 as part of the Mediator investigation. A fifth suspect, engineer Jean Leroux, had also been apprehended, but he has since died.
Ex-Terrebonne mayor Jean -Marc Robitaille at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse, Monday, October 7, 2019
The Crown sought to demonstrate that Mayor Robitaille had set up a scheme to share contracts between certain engineering firms. The DPCP also intended to prove that Mr. Robitaille, in charge of Terrebonne from 1997 to 2016, had largely benefited from this arrangement.
The judge in the case, Nancy McKenna, finally decided otherwise and blamed the prosecution for breaching procedural rules by not disclosing or disclosing too late evidence in the record that could have served the defense case. She also said that police officers lied under oath.
However, this information could have helped the defense, she pointed out, referring to secretiveness and willful blindness. This way of behaving reflects a search for victory at all costs, the judge had written, because it was an affront to the system, according to her.
Despite these complaints, the DPCP appealed the decision the following month. His appeal brief has not yet been filed, confirmed Thursday his spokesperson, Audrey Roy Cloutier.
Commissioner Gaudreau also indicated Thursday that #x27;he had ordered last December an external review of the process for handling and managing a denunciation in light of the stay of proceedings from which former Mayor Robitaille benefited.
The mandate was given to former Superior Court magistrate Robert Pidgeon, who retired in the spring of 2020.
Robert Pidgeon, former Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec
Joined by Radio-Canada, UPAC spokesperson Mathieu Galarneau said that Mr. Pidgeon's report will not be made public. It is not excluded, however, that the police force will reveal some of the recommendations of the retired judge once he has finished his work, he added.
According to Mr. Galarneau, it was for the sake of transparency that UPAC announced on Thursday that four of its police officers were now under investigation by the BEI.
Mathieu Galarneau is spokesperson for UPAC.
This is not the first time that the BEI is investigating UPAC. The Oath project, which aims to shed light on the leaks that marked the first years of the specialized police force, has been ongoing since November 2018.
With information from La Presse canadienne