GHB traffickers want to be released | In heated exchange, judge questions lawyer’s competence

Tempers flared Thursday in a hearing to demand the release of three traffickers from a huge production network. Believing that he had been called “incompetent” by the judge, the defense lawyer called for the judge to be recused. A defendant also shouted in the courtroom.

The exchanges were particularly tense Thursday between Judge André Vincent of the Superior Court and Mr.e Samuel Cozak Thursday at the Saint-Jérôme courthouse. The defense argued that the three accused were detained “illegally”. The judge refused to release them.

During his pleading, Mr.e Cozak appeared to imply that the Crown had extorted a guilty plea from the accused in exchange for their release during the process. This allegation led to a heated exchange with the judge.

“Let’s see!” Will a court officer participate in a false guilty plea? », Launched the judge.

“Perhaps by not being conscious,” M then said.e Cozak.

“Maybe you would.” But certainly not a competent lawyer,” asserted the judge.

This comment from Judge Vincent particularly angered the defense lawyer who later demanded the judge’s recusal – that is to say, his withdrawal from the case.

“Be called an incompetent lawyer for free. This is a completely unacceptable comment. Being attacked personally because I present structured arguments,” protested M.e Cozak.

“It’s a slip of the tongue, and it may have gone beyond my thoughts. If you understood that I treated you as incompetent, I withdraw my words,” concluded Judge Vincent, rejecting the request for recusal.

Millions of doses of GHB

To better understand this affair, we have to go back to last November. Sébastien Turcotte, Éric Matte and Jean-Philippe Robitaille then admitted their guilt in connection with the production and distribution of GHB. Their laboratory in Terrebonne could produce millions of doses of this “date rape drug”. The three men were to receive sentences of five to seven years under a joint suggestion. They were then free.

However, on the morning they were to begin their sentences, the traffickers fired their lawyers and requested that their guilty pleas be withdrawn. Judge François Landry then decided to withdraw their bail and detain them until further notice.

To the great dismay of their new lawyers who turned to the Superior Court on Thursday to plead a motion for illegal detention (habeas corpus). Essentially, the lawyers argue that their clients should be released, since Judge François Landry of the Court of Quebec did not have jurisdiction to order their detention.

“The judge could not take it. The customers were unrepresented. The judge did not give reasons and did not allow these people to express themselves. This is the holy trinity of constitutional violations. It’s a violation from A to Z,” argued M.e Cozak, one of three defense attorneys.

Arguments immediately rejected by Judge Vincent. In his eyes, Judge Landry had the power to order incarceration since he was responsible for sentencing. Furthermore, he simply returned the file to the state it was in before the agreement between the parties. The accused were then detained.

“We are going back on our word, it seems a fairly justifiable reason. Break his word! The Court must be aware of the delaying tactics that are being used,” added Judge Vincent.

“It’s illegal, it’s written in black and white,” added M.e Cozak.

“I consider that there is a diversion of the ends of justice in the participation which is made. The parties agree, change lawyers and then present absolutely illogical requests,” replied Judge Vincent.

The case is far from over. The defense’s request to withdraw the guilty plea will be heard by a judge of the Court of Quebec next Tuesday. Judge François Landry recused himself from the case in mid-February since he had participated in the facilitation process between the parties.

Essentially, the new defense lawyers are claiming that the Crown did not disclose all of the evidence. “We have a report from an expert from the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi who tells us that there is no GHB,” said M.e Cozak Thursday.

One of the accused accused the Crown on Thursday of having hidden “exculpatory” evidence. “I find it difficult to hear that we are not people of our words. It’s not that we don’t have words, it’s that we know that we’re putting a Christmas tree between our two legs! », Said Jean-Philippe Robitaille from the dock.

Mr. Robitaille then lost his temper, shouting reproaches at the Crown prosecutor M.e Steve Baribeau. ” Shame on you ! “, he shouted.

Furthermore, a Superior Court judge recently rejected in a 221-page judgment a $22.3 million lawsuit filed by Samuel Cozak and three members of his family against the Quebec state.

In this case nicknamed the “Breaking Bad trial” by the Quebec media, Samuel Cozak, his brother and his chemist father had obtained a stay of proceedings due to the Jordan ruling in 2017. Since then, Me Samuel Cozak joined the Bar in 2022.


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