A police officer guilty of sexually assaulting a friend was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Monday at home, while three of his colleagues who had intimidated the victim in the middle of the courtroom are under investigation.
“The conduct of the peace officers disturbed the complainant to the point of collapsing in tears on the ground. Such reprehensible behavior has no place in the courtroom and must be denounced, ”commented Judge Pierre Bélisle, attacking the intimidating police officers while he condemned André Hébert-Ledoux on Monday at the Palais de justice of Montreal.
Hébert-Ledoux, 34, is a Montreal police officer who sexually assaulted a woman he knew during a visit to a haunted house on Halloween 2017. While he was intoxicated, he grabbed hold of the complainant’s buttocks, and took her breasts, laughing, then forcing a hand into her panties.
Already traumatized by the events, the woman, who cannot be identified by order of the court, experienced another shock during her testimony in court in June 2019. It is that on that day, police officers dressed in civilian clothes are came to support their colleague. And in the absence of the judge, they took the opportunity to come forward and screen between the accused and the complainant, who felt intimidated.
These three police officers are the supervising sergeant Stevens Hamelin, the Longueuil police officer Julien Côté, as well as the agent Félicia Adam. The latter said to have come forward “by instinct”, but the judge considered that this explanation “does not hold water”, while denouncing this behavior.
” [L’événement] is currently under investigation “, assured the Crown prosecutor Me Sasha Blais, stressing that the victim had to keep her head high, and that she had done” everything there was to do “in the file.
But if Hébert-Ledoux hoped to get by without a criminal record, he who demanded an absolution, he had the bad surprise of being sentenced to home prison. In fact, the sentence he received was even harsher than the community service the Crown demanded.
“The sentence suggested by the prosecution is too lenient”, ruled the magistrate, recalling that a recent judgment of the Supreme Court called for being more severe in cases of sexual assault.
The magistrate also noted that if Hébert-Ledoux had quickly apologized to his victim, he was careful to stress that he did not remember anything and that he was intoxicated.
“In short, the accused does not assume his criminal responsibility,” commented the judge, recalling that Hébert-Ledoux himself had made the choice to drink that evening.
He therefore sentenced the policeman to 10 months in prison at home, followed by two years of probation. Hébert-Ledoux, who is currently appealing the verdict, will also be entered in the sex offender registry for 10 years.
However, the judge refused to order her to pay the victim nearly $ 110,000 for the trauma she suffered.