12 months in prison for Simon Houle: the Court annuls his conditional discharge

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12 months in prison for Simon Houle : the Court annuls his conditional discharge

While the Crown was asking for 18 months in prison, Simon Houle was granted a conditional discharge during his trial.

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturns engineer Simon Houle's conditional discharge for sexual assault and voyeurism and replaces it with a 12-month prison sentence.

Simon Houle had received an absolution after sexually assaulting a woman and taking photos of her private parts in 2019, in Trois-Rivières. He had pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and voyeurism.

In her argument before the Court of Appeal last December, the attorney for the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), Ève-Lyne Goulet, affirmed that the decision rendered at first instance had the effect of underestimating the aggravating circumstances of Simon Houle's crimes.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal accepted the arguments of the DPCP and annulled the conditional discharge pronounced by Judge Matthieu Poliquin of the Court of Quebec, in June 2022.

This judgment of the Court of Quebec had aroused the indignation of organizations that support the victims and had caused a stir among the public. The controversy had been fueled, in particular, by the fact that this conditional discharge was to allow Mr. Houle, an engineer, to travel for his work.

Judge Poliquin had considered that the The assault perpetrated by Simon Houle had taken place quickly.

However, in its arguments before the Court of Appeal, the DPCP revealed that the sexual assault had lasted at least 24 minutes.

The DPCP also revealed that the attack took place in at least three different rooms of an apartment.

For the Crown, Simon Houle showed relentlessness towards his victim, the latter having tried to escape by running away from him in the apartment.

Simon Houle had also kept 9 photos of the victim's private parts in his cell phone for 44 days.

“The type of sexual act committed by Mr. Houle is not trivial and increases the risk of harm to the victim. »

— Excerpt from the judgment rendered in the Court of Appeal against Simon Houle

In its decision, the Court of Appeal recalls that the crimes committed by Simon Houle are at the intermediate and upper levels of the gravity scale. Voyeurism is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of five years and sexual assault by imprisonment for a maximum of ten years.

In this case, the Court of Appeal retained, among other aggravating factors, the degree of harm to the physical and sexual integrity of the victim; the number and content of the photos taken without her knowledge and the fact that these photos remained accessible on Simon Houle's phone for a month and a half.

Other aggravating factors: the psychological and financial consequences suffered by the victim.

The court also recalls that Simon Houle was 27 years old when he committed these offences, that he had a previous conviction for drunk driving, and that he had already sexually touched a sleeping young woman.

It cannot therefore be, says the Court of Appeal, a youthful error or an accident.< /p>

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