Benoît Bissonnette was charged for the first time in 2009. On Monday, he ended his third trial in the case by pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy.

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The attorneys involved in the case of a consultant who eventually admitted that he helped defraud the city of Montreal out of millions of dollars have asked that he be sentenced to 30 months in prison.

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Prosecution and defense attorney Marc Labelle made the joint sentencing recommendation on Friday morning to Superior Court Judge Mario Longpré in the Montreal courthouse.

Benoît Bissonnette was charged for the first time in 2009. On Monday, he ended his third trial in the case by pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy. The guilty plea came days after Longpré rejected a request for a stay of proceedings on the charges he faced. Labelle had argued that the prosecution did not disclose all of their evidence.

Labelle told Longpré that he originally suggested that his client be sentenced to two years less per day, which would have made the prison sentence provincial and thus made Bissonnette eligible for earlier release. But, Labelle said, the Crown would accept nothing less than a 30-month prison term.

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“Each side put water in their wine,” Labelle said as he explained how the defense and prosecution agreed to suggest a 30-month sentence.

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Gilles Parent, a former city of Montreal information technology director, was charged in the same case. He pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy on October 1, 2012. Parent was sentenced to six years in prison and was granted probation in 2015 while the jury for Bissonnette’s first trial was still out.

Bissonnette assisted Parent in a bogus billing scheme. Parent created a company under a false name and used a pre-billing system to defraud the city of $ 4.8 million from December 2006 to September 2008.

The money was then deposited into bank accounts in Hong Kong.

Bissonnette was acquitted at his first trial, but the Quebec Court of Appeals ruled that the judge was wrong in directing the jury and ordered a new trial.

The second trial ended in mistrial because the prosecution made a mistake in referring to evidence that had previously been declared inadmissible.

Longpré said it will deliver its decision on sentencing in January.

This story will be updated.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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