The court does not have to exclude candidate jurors who are not doubly vaccinated, ruled a judge at the trial of a consultant accused of illegally lining his pockets on the back of the City of Montreal.

“No obligation to be vaccinated currently applies to the various players in the justice system […]. In Quebec, the only obligation imposed by the State to be vaccinated is that of […] which concerns only the personnel of the health system ”, ruled Judge Mario Longpré at the trial of Benoit Bissonnette.

Bissonnette, 59, is a computer consultant accused of participating in a fraud conspiracy against the City of Montreal in the mid-2000s.

Even if he had been hired “externally”, he had become the right hand of the head of the Information Technology Department of the metropolis, Gilles Parent, explained Mr.e Mathieu Longpré, of the Crown, in his opening statement, Friday at the Montreal courthouse.

Thus, their company, Forte Consulting Services, created with a nominee, would have provided employees to the City while receiving income even if Parent was in conflict of interest. Firms that obtained IT contracts from the City had to pay a commission to that of the duo, added the prosecutor.

Bissonnette would also have done double invoicing, in addition to having participated in an embezzlement of funds by means of a pre-invoicing system.

” The sums […] were eventually transferred to China, ”the prosecution said.

It was already going well

But before the presentation of the evidence, the judge had to rule on a request that each juror be “adequately vaccinated”, in order to avoid any problem related to COVID-19.

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However, since the start of the pandemic, jury trials have been held with strict health measures, without major problems.

“The automatic exclusion of all candidate jurors who are not adequately vaccinated also potentially poses a problem as to the representativeness of the jury”, added the magistrate, specifying that even if it may seem “surprising” not to to be vaccinated, it did not make a candidate unfit to sit.

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