Stay of proceedings ordered at the trial of Daniel Laframboise

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Arrêt Ordered at the Trial of Daniel Laframboise

Daniel Laframboise leaving the Rouyn-Noranda courthouse in early November.

The Crown announced to jurors on Wednesday that the proceedings against Daniel Laframboise are arrested. The trial began on September 26.

Superior Court Judge Louis Dionne clarified at the Rouyn-Noranda courthouse that this is not an acquittal.

The Crown requested an stay of proceedings because certain pieces of evidence were allegedly not provided to the defense in a timely manner. The Crown explains that it discovered the existence of this evidence, which would not have been brought to its attention, after the defense made requests for the disclosure of evidence.

There is evidence that was not disclosed in a timely manner [and] that must be disclosed to the accused according to the great principles of law that govern us. Their non-disclosure at the right time creates delays. At this stage, it is no longer possible to maintain a jury in this expectation, indicated the Crown prosecutor, Me Andrée-Anne Gagnon.

The Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) has 12 months to relaunch the proceedings. Such a scenario will also lead to the selection of a new jury. Me Gagnon clarified in this regard that the final decision has not yet been made. We will do all the necessary research and verification before making the decision, she said.

Daniel Laframboise was charged with six counts in this trial. , including counts of sexual assault and sexual assault causing bodily harm. There were two counts for each of the three alleged victims.

Johanie Bellemare St-Georges, one of the plaintiffs in the Laframboise trial, was troubled as she left the courtroom.

I feel angry and sad, she said affirmed. I lived through 11 years of abuse. For four and a half years, I have lived through the abuse of the justice system. I have to live with all of this accumulated trauma over the past 15 years. I find that deplorable. The consequences for the victims are inhuman.

It should be noted that the testimony and cross-examination of Johanie Bellemare St-Georges took place over several weeks, to the point of occupying a considerable portion of the trial.

Mme Bellemare St-Georges now feels angry with the justice system and its representatives. I understand that they are all human, but this situation has serious consequences for me, she points out.

If the plaintiff considers that the present stay of proceedings may send a negative signal to other alleged victims, she nevertheless invites them to denounce.

It's sad, but we are the ones who are going to clear the ground for the system to eventually change. It must change for the next generations, she argues.

Johanie Bellemare St-Georges assures that she will testify again if the opportunity arises in the context of a new trial.

Daniel Laframboise's trial opened on September 26 at the Rouyn-Noranda courthouse with the jury selection stage.

The trial, one of the few to took place before a jury in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, was initially to last 12 weeks, i.e. until December 23.

This trial was marked by several important episodes, in particular the testimony to uncovered face of one of the three plaintiffs, Johanie Bellemare St-Georges. Daniel Laframboise's ex-wife, Sandra Rapattoni, also testified.

Sandra Rapattoni during her visit to the Rouyn-Noranda courthouse at the beginning of month of November for the trial of her former spouse Daniel Laframboise

Recall that Ms. Rapattoni was arrested at the same time as Daniel Laframboise, in August 2018. The seven counts against her were dropped in October 2019. Sandra Rapattoni's lawyer had pleaded at the time that she was first a victim of Daniel Laframboise and not his accomplice.

The accused, aged around fifty, was detained a little over one year after his arrest, until September 2019.

Johanie Bellemare St-Georges, 38, testified that she remained under the yoke of Daniel Laframboise for 11 years. She believes that she was manipulated by the sending of thousands of emails, which allegedly pushed her to enter into and remain against her will in a relationship of bondage, discipline, domination, submission and sadomasochism (BDSM).

In addition to the alleged rapes and assaults, Ms. Bellemare St-Georges allegedly received intimidating emails in which she was threatened with disclosing intimate photos of herself or harming family members.

The complainant would have moved into the Laframboise-Rapattoni couple's home around April or May 2007. Today, Johanie Bellemare St-Georges, who was then in her early twenties, considers that she was vulnerable at the time due to his drug and alcohol abuse and legal troubles.

The Crown, initially represented by Me Andrée-Anne Gagnon and Me Émilie Larose, argued on the first day of the trial that Daniel Laframboise had sent thousands of emails under false identities. Me Gagnon asserted that the accused had done so in order to force the complainants to have various sexual contacts with him.

The defense notably cross-examined Ms. Bellemare St-Georges on certain aspects of her sexual past in addition to questioning her about the content and origin of the threats she claims to have received online.

The defense also pointed out that Johanie Bellemare St-Georges pleaded guilty to cannabis production and possession for the purpose of trafficking in June 2007. She was arrested during a police operation in Saint-Jérôme in 2005. She claims to have been sober since September 2007.

Like Sandra Rapattoni, Johanie Bellemare St-Georges read several emails to the Court during the examination and cross-examination stage. Some of these emails, filed as evidence, would have been exchanged between Daniel Laframboise and Johanie Bellemare St-Georges. Others bore the signature of various names, such as the Other Half or Master Simon.

Recall that the Crown maintained that they were fictitious characters portrayed by Daniel Laframboise.

Several stages of the trial were held behind closed doors, which prevented the public and the media from attending. This was particularly the case during the interrogation and cross-examination of one of the three alleged victims. At the start of the trial, the Crown intended to call up to 21 witnesses.

The Crown's motion to stay proceedings is called nolle prosequi, a Latin legal expression. This prerogative allows the prosecution to request a stay of proceedings, either before a trial is held or before a verdict is rendered.

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