$10 million lawsuit: SQ responds to Jonathan Bettez
Jonathan Bettez criticizes the SQ for having done everything to make the population consider him a murderer.
Jonathan Bettez has never been charged with anything in the Cédrika Provencher murder case. He therefore cannot claim that his right to the presumption of innocence has been violated, plead the lawyers of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).
For the first time since the filing of the civil lawsuit of 10 million dollars, in 2019, the lawyers of the SQ put forward their arguments to defend the police officers concerned. According to them, there is no cause for prosecution. They therefore ask the court to reject the Bettez family's request.
Jonathan Bettez criticizes the SQ for having done everything to make the population consider that he is a murderer, in particular by setting up from scratch a parallel investigation into child pornography.
In a document filed in court Friday, the lawyers of the SQ expose the elements which show that the police officers committed no fault. They refute plaintiffs' claims that Jonathan Bettez's fundamental rights, including the right to remain silent and the presumption of innocence, were violated.
Civil proceedings are not the appropriate forum to grant redress for an infringement of the right to the presumption of innocence – it will rather be up to the judge, in criminal proceedings, if necessary, to determine whether the guarantee was compromised.
– Excerpt from the defense of Attorney General of Quebec
For the SQ, the lawyer for the Bettez family has failed to demonstrate fault so far, and even less of a link between the actions of the police and the harm caused to the family Better.
The plaintiffs misunderstand when they allege that the defendants committed misconduct by undertaking a parallel investigation into the child pornography file without any evidence to that effect, the document reads.< /p>
SQ investigators have admitted to using the child pornography file to advance the murder of Cédrika Provencher.
Jonathan Bettez is described by the police as the main suspect in the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher. In 2007, he owned a model of vehicle similar to the one seen near the neighborhood where Cédrika Provencher was last seen. He is the only owner of this type of car who does not have a verifiable alibi. Negotiations between him and the SQ to take the polygraph test all failed.
During one such attempt, a Detective Sergeant noticed an unplugged computer tower in Mr. Bettez's kitchen; this detail caught his attention. According to the police, consumers of child pornography often own several computer towers. It was then that they decided to explore this track.
The investigators had every right, argue their lawyers, to open a new investigation on the basis of a hunch. The future has also shown that these intuitions were justified, they write in the document.
In October 2018, Judge Jacques Lacoursière qualified their efforts as a fishing operation. The police steps were abusive and the warrants invalid, he concluded in his judgment.
Jonathan Bettez was acquitted of the ten counts of child pornography which weighed against him.
The defendants intend to demonstrate that the damages claimed are grossly exaggerated.
According to them, there is no evidence that the police felt the desire to deliberately harm Jonathan Bettez. It was impossible, they say, to foresee all the consequences alleged by the plaintiffs, especially since the police do not control public opinion.
The August 29, 2016 arrest and searches of the premises of Bettez Packaging and all the media hype led to the collapse of the family business and forced its sale, according to the plaintiffs. They maintain that the label of pedophile and child killer is now associated with Jonathan Bettez, who wants to obtain compensation.
The Bettez family is claiming nearly $10.5 million.
Since the filing of the civil suit, several interrogations were carried out, including those of the Bettez family, the police and the buyer of Emballages Bettez. Other interrogations will take place in the coming weeks, including that of Martin Prud'homme, former director general of the SQ. The date for the preparation of the file has been postponed and is now set for July 3, 2023.