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Pursuit of the Bettez: a more collaborative tone

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Documents of the Sûreté du Québec will be sent to the lawyer for the Bettez family. This is what lawyers for both parties agreed today, during closed-door discussions at the Montreal courthouse.

  • Stéphane Bordeleau (View profile)Stéphane Bordeleau

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On the last day of the preparatory hearings in the lawsuit filed by Jonathan Bettez and his parents against the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), their lawyer said he was satisfied with the gains he obtained this week in view of the upcoming trial.

While the week had opened in a dynamic of confrontation between the attorney general and the Bettez, who accuse the SQ of having ruined their reputation by associating their son Jonathan with the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher, the tone was more collaborative on Friday.

The court was considering requests concerning the transmission to the Bettez of wiretap tapes of their communications collected by the SQ over the years and of the authorizations and judicial denunciations contained in the investigation file. The two parties agreed to collaborate behind closed doors on drafting a proposed order to the judge.

Judge Gregory Moore finally issued an order at midday allowing the Bettez's lawyer to obtain around twenty authorizations judicial and denunciations, as well as wiretap tapes captured in 2016 at the homes of its clients and coming from their telephone lines.

Earlier this week, the parties also agreed on the transfer to the complainants of documents and information contained in the SQ investigation file, to which end #x27;initially categorically opposed the attorney general who represents the provincial police in this lawsuit. The parties also agreed that these documents could be used during the trial.

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At the end of hearings and negotiations intended to settle various requests filed by the parties in anticipation of the trial, the lawyer for the Bettez family, Me Jessy Héroux, seemed satisfied with the concessions he obtained.

These are documents that we had been asking for for nine months, and there we managed to find a way to obtain them, so it was successful, the lawyer welcomed in a statement to the journalists, Friday.

What we have been working to do since Tuesday is to find a way through which we would have access to the investigation documents which will allow us to to establish the fault of the Sûreté du Québec during the trial.

A quote from Me Jessy Héroux, lawyer for Jonathan Bettez and his parents

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The lawyer for Jonathan Bettez and his family, Me Jessy Héroux.

The lawyer n& However, #x27;did not obtain everything he asked for from the Court. We would have liked to have a public debate on the DNA evidence, we would have liked to have a public debate on the physical descriptions of the suspects on the sketches and on the identification parades and their results. It's postponed.

A trial date should be set by September. However, we will have to wait another one to four more years before this trial takes place, due to the availability of the Court.

The lawyer says his clients will not accept any settlement, that they will go all the way and win.

Usually, when a person is accused of a crime, the evidence collected against them is automatically sent to their lawyer.

However, as Jonathan Bettez was never formally accused in connection with the highly publicized disappearance of Cédrika Provencher, the elements in the file were never transmitted to his lawyer. This explains the Bettez's request for access to this information as part of this lawsuit filed four years ago.

According to the Bettez lawyer, this information is essential to establish that the SQ does not have any tangible proof of his client's guilt. The lawyer also intends to demonstrate that evidence that could exonerate Jonathan Bettez was ignored by the investigators who, according to him, worked hard to make his client guilty in this case.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The SQ, for its part, wishes to protect its investigation file to the extent that the person who kidnapped and killed Cédrika Provencher is still wanted and where Jonathan Bettez is still considered a suspect.

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Jonathan Bettez had attracted the attention of the investigators by refusing in particular to submit to the polygraph test.

Me Jessy Héroux also mentioned the attorney general's insistence that the proceedings surrounding the preparation of the trial not be fully made public.

The SQ requested closed doors, processes ex parteand publication bans, officially to protect the evidence in the file. A precaution which surprised the Bettez's lawyer, who stressed that the police had, according to him, voluntarily leaked information to the media to associate Jonathan Bettez with the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher.

On Tuesday, Judge Gregory Moore ruled that the Attorney General of Quebec had not demonstrated that the advertising of debates posed a serious risk to the public interest.

Journalists were therefore able to attend the hearings. Which is a victory in itself for the Bettez.

With regard to sensitive documents, the magistrate ruled that the Court will determine individually the elements of the file which will or will not be subject to a non-publication order, following debates.

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The Bettez family is suing the SQ for $10 million for ruining their reputation by associating Jonathan Bettez for years with the murder of Cédrika Provencher.

In addition to Jonathan Bettez, who intends to testify in person during the upcoming civil trial, the former general director of the SQ Martin Prud& #x27;man will also be questioned as part of the lawsuit filed against the SQ.

The ex-officer superior of the SQ should in fact undergo a prior interrogation. Which means that he will be questioned by the Bettez family's lawyers and that his testimony may be added to the evidence. This does not mean, however, that he will necessarily be called to the stand during the trial.

Mr. Prud'homme was an investigator in 2007, during the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher. He was also director general of the SQ in 2015, when the girl's death was confirmed.

Cédrika Provencher disappeared on July 31, 2007, in Trois-Rivières, at the age of 9. All that was found was his bicycle, leaning on a fire hydrant. She was never seen alive again.

Her remains were found on December 11, 2015 in a wooded area located along Highway 40, in Saint-Maurice.

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Police officers are carrying out searches in a wooded area in Trois-Rivières following the discovery of the bones of Cédrika Provencher, in December 2015.

For more than 16 years, investigators tried to find who kidnapped and killed Cédrika Provencher . Hundreds of leads were checked, but to no avail.

Jonathan Bettez had attracted the attention of investigators because at the time he was driving a car – a red Acura – similar to the one seen by witnesses near the scene of the disappearance. He did not want to collaborate with the investigators by refusing in particular to submit to the polygraph test. He was also in Trois-Rivières at the time of the events, according to the police, who still consider Mr. Bettez as the main suspect in this case.

On August 29, 2016 – the day Cédrika Provencher would have turned 19 – the SQ arrested Jonathan Bettez for possession and distribution of child pornography following searches carried out in particular at the & #x27;his parents' company, Emballages Bettez.

The man was subsequently acquitted of all 10 charges against him.

Among the documents that will be at the heart of the upcoming civil trial is the action plan of the SQ in the investigation into the murder of Cédrika Provencher.

Dated April 11, 2016, the strategy describes how investigators intended to use pornography as a tool significant leverage for the investigation.

In October 2018, judge Jacques Lacoursière severely criticized the work of investigators of the SQ. He described their actions as a fishing operation. The police actions were, according to him, abusive and the warrants, invalid, he concluded.

  • Stéphane Bordeleau (Consult the profile)Stéphane BordeleauFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116