Former Terrebonne mayor Jean-Marc Robitaille and his co-defendants will have access to information from the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit about a key witness at their trial.
Judge Nancy McKenna ordered Tuesday morning that the public prosecutor provide the defense with information recently obtained by the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC) on Richard Tessier, boss of the Tessier Récréo-Parc company.
This decision has the effect of prolonging the course of the proceedings.
Tessier was soon to testify for the prosecution, at the trial for corruption and breach of trust of the former mayor Robitaille, his former chief of staff Daniel Bélec, the former CEO of Terrebonne Luc Papillon and the entrepreneur Normand Trudel.
Two former employees of Tessier have already come to the Saint-Jérôme courthouse to say that Tessier had managed to obtain most of the contracts for gaming modules in Terrebonne by paying bribes.
“This request comes in the context of information held by the defense, according to which a person has been met by UPAC, which accuses Richard Tessier of threatening behavior towards his competitors in the course of business to protect its already very important market share, ”Justice McKenna said on Tuesday.
“You should not refuse to disclose any information if there is a reasonable possibility that the non-disclosure will infringe the accused’s right to make full answer and defense,” she said.
For several days now, prosecutors from the public prosecution, UPAC and defense have been scrapping UPAC information on Tessier which may or may not be disclosed.
Two motions were filed by the defense on this matter, one for disclosure of evidence and the other for abuse of process.
Me Michel Massicotte, Normand Trudel’s lawyer, said he feared that the prosecution would want to avoid giving information about Tessier for what he described as “oblique reasons”.
The whole was marked by a certain improvisation, the prosecution having initially opposed the disclosure of certain information under the pretext of an ongoing investigation, before changing its mind. Judge McKenna expressed her irritation on Friday.
All these negotiations have the effect of considerably slowing down the proceedings, to the point of calling into question the timetable for the holding of the trial. There are still a few prosecution witnesses to hear. It is not yet known whether the defendants will present a defense.
The trial of the defendants in Terrebonne, which began in May 2019, is now likely to continue until next year.
Part of Tuesday was devoted to determining how the new defense requests would be handled.
- The four defendants in this case were arrested in March 2018 after a six-year UPAC investigation. The former mayor of Terrebonne Jean-Marc Robitaille is criticized in particular for having helped his friends obtain public contracts in exchange for bribes.