He had obtained a stay of proceedings | Ex-chiropractor accused of sexual assault to face trial

A former Montreal chiropractor accused of sexually assaulting a patient thought he would get away without trial after benefiting from a halt to the legal process due to an error by his professional order. But the Court of Appeal has just ordered a new trial.

Frederick Mark Zarow was criminally charged in August 2020. At the same time, he was disbarred for a period of 10 years by the Order of Chiropractors of Quebec in 2022. The health professional had committed “abusive actions of a sexual nature » with regard to a patient, according to the disciplinary council.

His ethical record, however, derailed his criminal trial, when the union of the Order of Chiropractors transmitted the judgment to the investigator and the complainant. The disciplinary council had nevertheless ordered strict non-publication orders and non-disclosure of the defense evidence.

For this reason alone, Judge Julie Riendeau of the Court of Quebec ordered a halt to the legal process. According to her, the accused’s right to silence and a fair trial had been violated, since the judgment of the disciplinary council revealed the defense strategy.

However, this decision by the trial judge was “premature” since there is no proof of “real and concrete” harm to the accused, concludes Court of Appeal judge Guy Cournoyer, supported by his colleagues Stephen W. Hamilton and Benoît Moore.

Judge Riendeau should have waited until the end of the complainant’s testimony or the end of the trial in order to assess the real harm of transmitting the decision, considers the Court of Appeal. For example, if the Crown had changed its strategy after reading the decision or if the complainant had changed her story.

The Court of Appeal recalls that it sometimes happens that an accused’s version is revealed in another instance, for example when he testifies at the preliminary investigation of a co-accused.

Also, if the mere disclosure of the defense in the board’s decision is sufficient to result in a stay of proceedings, a confidentiality order should be issued at all stages of the disciplinary process, argues the Court of Appeal. Such “automatic” orders would be contrary to the principle of “open court”, argues Judge Cournoyer.

When a professional is accused of ethics and criminally at the same time, it is common for non-publication and non-dissemination orders to be ordered in the ethics file. Journalists cannot therefore mention it. Without ruling on this issue, Judge Cournoyer points out that nothing indicates that such orders should always be issued.

Despite his removal from the Order, Frederick Mark Zarow continues to offer his services for “sports therapy” treatments and “emergency care” at the Zarow Clinic, located on Saint-Denis Street in the Rosemont district of Montreal. .

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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