A tight cross-examination for the alleged victim of Harold LeBel
Defence cross-examination concluded Wednesday in the trial of sexual assault accused Harold LeBel.
“I suggest that Mr. LeBel never fondled your buttocks or inserted his finger into your anus,” the defense attorney told the alleged victim of sexual assault, in the trial of former Rimouski MP Harold LeBel.
The only thing that happened was that Harold fell asleep on the bed, and you woke up together, added Master Maxime Roy. I suggest to you that he never undid your bra.
It is in these terms that the cross-examination of the Defense concluded on Wednesday in the trial of Harold LeBel, accused of sexual assault.
The alleged victim did not seem disconcerted by this questioning of his testimony, and simply dismissed the comments of the defense attorney.
Maître Roy repeatedly confronted the Complainant about her testimony, including comparing it to the interrogation that was conducted by the police in July 2020 and attacking her credibility.
He also insisted on several occasions that the alleged victim had maintained cordial contact with the accused, even after the events. She recalled that she had first tried to put her aggression in a little box in her head, and that it was only from 2019 that she would have realized the extent of her disorder.
< p class="e-p">Several details of the complainant's testimony and cross-examination are withheld due to the publication ban which strikes her identity.
Defence counsel have asked the complainant about Harold LeBel's first advances, when he allegedly kissed her and stroked her thigh. You didn't make a physical gesture to push him away, do you agree with me?
I didn't push him away saying “stop it, what are you doing”. [..] I freed myself from this situation and told her "I'm going to shower and go to bed,' she replied.
Maître Maxime Roy also asked to be reminded of what she was wearing when her client allegedly made another move towards her, once they were both up from their seats. He then questioned the possibility that the defendant could have managed to undo her bra, although she was wearing a dress and a jacket.
The Defense then returned to the moment when Harold LeBel was allegedly aggressive and insistent, once the complainant was locked in the bathroom. Master Roy questioned her on how she reacts to the events she wants the jury to believe. The lawyer recalled that at this time, his friend was in the adjoining room.
“She is barely two meters away from you, but you are not going to seek his assistance. »
— Maître Maxime Roy, lawyer for Harold LeBel
You are not alone in the apartment, your friend is there!, he added.
According to the version of the alleged victim, she would have, in the bathroom, sent a text message to her friend who said, in essence, What the fuck Harold. I don't know what's happening, it's really weird. Are you awake? I am afraid of what is happening.
This message, moreover, would never have been found by the complainant on her cell phone, when the SQ investigators asked her to.
As she had exchanged a lot with her friend between the events and her approach to filing a complaint in 2020, she was unable to go back as far, until 2017, in her history, she explained.
The complainant also suggested that she may have deleted text messages to free up space on her phone. I wish I had found him, she said.
She also indicated that she was content to send this message, because the accused eventually stopped asking her to open the door and walked away.
For me, at that moment, the story is closed, he understood the message. She thought he had come to his senses, that he had become Harold again, that she had no idea what would happen next.
The Defense also wanted to highlight the complainant's confusion about her perception of the accused's apartment.
The alleged victim, during cross-examination, indicated that she had initially doubted the number of rooms at Harold LeBel. However, when she saw, during her interrogation by the DPCP in the morning, the photos taken by forensic identification in December 2020, she understood that there was only one bedroom, behind the door next to the room. bathroom.
Maître Roy then released the verbatim of the complainant's deposition to the SQ in July 2020, where it was written: I think there is like another guest room in her condo.
But a door does not lead to two bedrooms, normally, do you agree with me?, also launched the Defense, referring to the standards of the building.
The lawyer then mentioned the moment when the complainant would have left the bathroom to lie down in the Murphy bed. Harold is going to sleep where? Is that a question you asked yourself?, he asked.
The complainant replied that she expected what ;Harold LeBel wakes his friend so he can go to bed, and have her join her, as they had slept together the night before.
Nothing was stopping you from going to sleep with her, or going to get her herself… […] Why didn't you reassess the situation?, continued the Defense.
I felt more shocked than scared when I left the bathroom, replied the alleged victim.
The alleged victim replied on many occasions that her memories were concentrated around the assault she had experienced, and that this explained that she did not remember all the details.
The prosecution will call another witness on Thursday, the plaintiff's friend, whose identity is also protected by a publication ban.
We do not know at this time whether or not the Defense will choose to have Harold LeBel testify.
In the morning of Wednesday, the complainant, guided by DPCP lawyer Manon Gaudreault, returned with more details on the detailed testimony she began on Tuesday, at the end of the day.
As in her first appearance, she faced the jury and had her back almost to the accused. For his part, Harold LeBel was watching her and seemed to be listening attentively.
It was in 2020, more than two and a half years after the alleged events, that the complainant wrote an email to Harold LeBel, explaining why their relationship was cold when they crossed paths.
Like her testimony in court, she wrote to him in detail about the great brokenness she says she experienced that night, that she had previously seen him as a father figure and that she had trusted him.< /p>
Forgive me this evening, I'm so sorry, replied Harold LeBel in an email that the plaintiff also read to the jury.
Still by e-mail, the accused replied that he too had been living with a lot of questions all this time and that he had no memory of all that.
“Here's a night of drinking I wish I hadn't had.” »
— Harold LeBel, in an email sent to the alleged victim
Questioned by the DPCP on this subject, the complainant estimated that she drank three or four gin and tonics during the evening, all served by Harold LeBel. He himself would have consumed as many glasses, without however knowing how much alcohol he had served himself.
Just before the alleged attempts to reconcile the accused, they were in a tipsy state, tipsy, nothing more, according to the alleged victim. They would have been in a normal state, in control.
Back in 2020, by email, Harold LeBel expressed his regrets about what she had told him , he who had always had immense respect for her. He wrote that he wanted to be her friend and see her again so they could talk to each other about the situation.
This meeting with the one the alleged victim still calls Harold never took place, she said. She added in her testimony that she had mostly tried to avoid him since those two nights spent at her residence. She explained that at this time, in 2020, she was increasingly haunted by the events she had experienced and was increasingly evaluating the possibility of filing a complaint.
The trigger that would have pushed her further in this direction was the arrest of former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair for sexual assault in the spring of 2020.
She had noted that the name of the victim of Boisclair did not appear in the media, she who feared above all to suffer the consequences by denouncing Harold LeBel.
After having obtained information on publication bans to protect the alleged victims of sexual assault in court, she indicated that she had taken steps with the Sûreté du Québec in Rimouski to officially file a complaint.
If I say nothing, maybe other people will suffer the same thing as me?, she said she wondered.
In total , 14 people, ten women and four men, of all ages and residing in Rimouski or the surrounding area, make up the jury called to examine the case.