Demonstration in Montreal against the conditional discharge of Simon Houle

Demonstration in Montreal against the conditional discharge of Simon Houle

A hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the Montreal courthouse.

A hundred people demonstrated in front of the courthouse on Sunday of justice in Montreal to protest against the absolution, in June, of Trois-Rivières engineer Simon Houle, author of a sexual assault on a woman while she slept.

Justice is crap, don't tell me rape culture doesn't exist and rapists everywhere, justice nowhere were just some of the messages on the signs held by the participants.

Many of them directly attacked judge Matthieu Poliquin.

Simon Houle pleaded guilty to sexual assault and voyeurism after assaulting an acquaintance and taking pictures of her private body parts while she slept in 2019.

Judge Poliquin found the defendant to be a person of good character who gave a particularly convincing display of rehabilitation. He gave him a conditional discharge along with a three-year probation order.

A conviction would have particularly negative and disproportionate consequences for him, as he could hardly travel outside the country, which could possibly hamper his career as an engineer, argues the judge.

The Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) has decided to appeal the decision. The motion for leave to appeal will be filed with the Registry of the Court of Appeal by July 21, the DPCP announced on Tuesday.

“It's really just disgusting, we can't just sit there and do nothing, we have to show our deep dissatisfaction with a justice system that protects abusers. »

— Marie-Maxime Gaumont, co-organizer of the event

I really have the impression that things are going in circles and that ;There is nothing being done to change that, and we have had proof of this with the judgment of Mr. Poliquin, she adds.

The group chanted slogans before listening to speeches by activists and survivors.

Actress Patricia Tulasne, member of the Courageuses, this group of women who accused Gilbert Rozon of sexual assault, took the floor to denounce the lack of change in the justice system.

It's 2022, after the #MeToo movement, she said, and it is simply unacceptable that a judge dared to make this judgment after what, we, the Courageous and all the other victims, by taking the floor, we brought for the past few years, Ms. Tulasne said.

The former Double Occupation contestantand entrepreneur Jessie Nadeau spoke about her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault. She asserted that the lack of framework and boundaries fosters a climate where impunity prevails and that the suffering of victims is amplified by the violence they experience when they attempt to report. She also lamented the need to go through an obstacle course to access help and support.

“Me this week , my anger, it is directed at the Minister of Justice”

— Mélanie Lemay, co-founder of the Quebec organization against sexual violence

He has been talking to us about a specialized court for years when he knows very well although all the pitfalls that are denounced by the victims will remain, and this case law, it will remain, specialized court or not!, deplores Ms. Lemay, who also participated in the organization of the demonstration.

Ms. Gaumont was also of this opinion, arguing that, even with a suitable court, it is still a system that can exonerate rapists.

According to Ms. Tulasne, the system itself must be changed, because it is unfair and inequitable with the victims. As long as the victim does not have victim status, but witnesses their own aggression, the system cannot function.

One ​​of several references times cited in Justice Poliquin's sentencing judgment is Rozon. In 1999, Gilbert Rozon pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman. He was, however, given an absolute discharge, among other things, to allow him to travel to the United States and because the media coverage of the case had left an indelible stigma on him.

D& #x27;According to Ms. Tulasne, the Rozon decision is a major cause of Mr. Houle's absolution and the reason why the legislation itself must be changed. Several demonstrators also quoted this decision on their placards.

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