Patrick Chénard at the Rimouski courthouse during the sentencing, July 15, 2022 (archives).
After receiving a prison sentence of 6 years and 3 months on July 15, the former massage therapist and kinesiologist Patrick Chénard, found guilty of ;sexual assault, finds his freedom.
Judge Suzanne Gagné accepted the motion filed by defense counsel on July 20. Me Tristan Desjardins requested the release of his client until the Court of Appeal had ruled on his guilty verdict.
In his motion, Mr. Desjardins argued that the former massage therapist complied with all of his release conditions during his last release, which preceded his sentencing.
During the hearing that took place on July 29, Judge Gagné justified her decision by invoking mainly two factors: the fact that Patrick Chénard had respected the conditions that had been imposed on him until then, and the fact that public confidence in the justice system was not likely to be undermined by his release.
She pointed out that Mr. Chenard was released for most of the court process. He never failed to appear in court and […] he was not charged with breach of recognizance, the judge said.
The fact that Patrick Chénard's living environment is stable, that he has been living with his spouse for ten years and that his parents are also in Rimouski was also considered. In this context, the appellant persuades me that, if released pending appeal, he will give himself up in accordance with the terms of the order, can we read in the judgment.
According to his conditions of release, Patrick Chénard cannot practice massage therapy and kinesiology, which, according to Judge Gagné, will neutralize the risk that the Rimouskois' release could present.
For all the reasons, it considers that the detention of Mr. Chénard is not necessary in the public interest.
The ex- massage therapist and kinesiologist must however respect several conditions.
Keep the peace, behave well and be present in court when required
Do not change residential address
Do not offer or engage in voluntary or paid activities in massage therapy, physiotherapy or any other massage therapy technique
Do not communicate or attempt to communicate directly or indirectly with the complainants< /p>
Not within 50 meters of complainants
Not be within 100 meters of the complainants' place of residence and their place of work and/or study
Do not leave Canada
On the side of the victims, some of them have the impression of playing yoyo.
One of them indicates that she is not so surprised by the news. Honestly, I saw a hidden number on my phone and the first thing I thought was: "Well, the CAVAC is calling me to tell me he's released."
“It hurts, like news, it's annoying, but it's so rendered nonsense that I just, at the limit, let out a discouraged laugh.
— One of Patrick Chénard's victims
Another complainant confirms that the victims had been groomed for future release.
Me Morneau-Deschênes had met with us after the sentencing, to tell us that there was a chance that Patrick Chénard would be released pending the new guilty verdict.
A third victim is saddened by the release of her attacker and wonders about the importance given to the safety of the victims in this story. For more than four years now, we victims have been living with the constant stress of meeting him in society or of him making new victims.
“I've been imprisoned since the day he assaulted me. »
— A victim of Patrick Chénard
The date of the appeal of the guilty verdict is not yet known, but judge Suzanne Gagné believes that the case may proceed quickly.