Jury selected for Harold LeBel trial

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The jury is selected for the trial of Harold LeBel

Former MP Harold LeBel has always claimed he had nothing to be ashamed of.

It took three hours of hearing at the Rimouski courthouse to select the 14 people who will form the jury in the case of former MP Harold LeBel, charged with sexual assault.

Ten women and four men will sit as jurors. This is two more people than usual, in order to guarantee that a full jury will be able to deliberate, in the context of the pandemic, explained judge Serge Francoeur.

A total of 118 people were at the Rimouski courthouse on day 1 of Harold LeBel's trial on Monday morning, waiting to appear in court to participate in the selection of the jury.

In opening, the magistrate stressed the importance of finding impartial jurors, meaning that they must approach the trial with an open mind, without preconceived ideas. This is the most important role citizens can play in the administration of justice in Canada, said Justice Francoeur.

Nearly 120 people were at the Rimouski courthouse on Monday morning, waiting to appear in the courtroom.

Of the 14 people chosen, only 12 will however be entitled to deliberate. They will be drawn at random just before the deliberation.

Before the start of the hearing on Monday morning, a group of protesters stood silently on the steps of the courthouse. They presented themselves as citizens or as people working in the community.

“The main message is to be there from the start of the trial. It is to tell the victim that we are present and that we believe them. »

— Émilie Pelletier, co-responsible for sociopolitics at CALACS

For us, it is really a message of support for the victim. Of course, it is never easy to file a complaint. In the case of a sexual assault, it often happens in private, says Émilie Pelletier, co-responsible for sociopolitics at CALACS in Rimouski.

Protesters stood at the entrance to the Rimouski courthouse on the morning of the start of Harold LeBel's trial.

Harold LeBel's trial opened Monday with jury selection. They will be called upon to judge the case of the former deputy who sat for eight years in the National Assembly and who faces a charge of sexual assault.

A total of 200 people were summoned. Eighty of them requested an exemption which was accepted, according to the courthouse registry office.

The alleged facts allegedly occurred in October 2017 in Rimouski. The accused has always claimed that he had nothing to reproach himself for.

The identity of the alleged victim, absent from the hearings on Monday, is protected by a publication ban.

The presentation of evidence will begin on Tuesday. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.

With the collaboration of Michel-Félix Tremblay

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