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The Bettez family c. the SQ: a closed session decided individually

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Jonathan Bettez and his parents are suing the Sûreté du Québec and the Attorney General of Quebec for $10 million.

    < li class="mt-2 flex first:mt-0">Stéphane Bordeleau (View profile)Stéphane Bordeleau

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In a decision expected in preparation for the civil trial brought by the Bettez family against the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) for having associated Jonathan Bettez with the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher, Judge Gregory Moore decided that the Court will determine the elements of the case piecemeal. file which will be subject to a publication ban.

According to the judge who heard the parties' arguments on Monday, the Attorney General of Quebec has not demonstrated that the publicity of the debates poses a serious risk to the public interest.

Considering the imperatives linked to the publication of sensitive information linked to the investigation, the magistrate decided to proceed piecemeal, that is to say to formulate a tailor-made solution to each of the objections that will be raised in order to ensure that the debates will not take place entirely behind closed doors.

Each objection raised by the Attorney General regarding the publication of this information will therefore have to be debated between the lawyers and the judge, who will ultimately determine what will or will not be subject to a closed session during the preliminary debates which will lead to the trial, the date of which is not yet known.

Former director general of the Sûreté du Québec Martin Prud'homme will also undergo preliminary questioning as part of this prosecution. This means that he will be questioned by the Bettez lawyers and that his testimony will be added to the evidence, but it does not mean that he will necessarily be called to the stand during the trial.

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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 death of the little girl was confirmed after the discovery of her bones in a wooded area in Saint-Maurice.

The Bettez family is demanding $10 million from the SQ for having, according to them, ruined their reputation by associating Jonathan Bettez for years with the murder of Cédrika Provencher.

The publication of the contents of the police investigation file into the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher is at the heart of the procedures.

While the SQ is opposed to the publication of the evidence to the extent that no suspect has yet been arrested and convicted, the family believes that it is essential to exonerate Jonathan Bettez once and for all.< /p>Open in full screen mode

The lawyer for the Bettez family, Me Jessy Héroux, criticizes the Sûreté du Québec for knowingly ignoring evidence which exonerates his client. (Archive photo)

These are documents that are important to us because they will allow us to establish that there is no tangible piece of evidence that allows Jonathan to be linked to the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher, explained Monday the lawyer for the Bettez family, Me Jessy Héroux.

According to the lawyer, these documents demonstrate that the SQ knowingly ignored elements that could exonerate Jonathan Bettez and the relentlessness shown investigators towards their alleged suspect and his family.

Although he is still considered by the SQ as the main suspect in the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher, Jonathan Bettez has never been accused of anything in connection with the highly publicized disappearance of the child, then aged 9 years.

The little girl disappeared on July 31, 2007, in Trois-Rivières. All that was found was his bicycle, leaning on a fire hydrant. The remains of the little girl were found in December 2015 in a wooded area located along Highway 40, in Saint-Maurice.

For more than 16 years, investigators have been searching for the person who kidnapped and killed Cédrika Provencher.

According to the SQ, Jonathan Bettez, who at the time was driving a car similar to the one described by witnesses near the scene of the disappearance, did not want to collaborate with the investigators by refusing in particular to submit in the polygraph test. He was also in Trois-Rivières at the time of the events, according to the police, who claim to have never obtained the evidence to exclude Jonathan Bettez from the list of suspects.

During this civil suit filed four years ago, Jonathan Bettez and his parents intend to demonstrate that the investigators erred and that they made Jonathan Bettez a suspect of convenience. The family accuses them of having done everything to make the population believe that Jonathan Bettez was a pedophile and a murderer.

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Jonathan Bettez, notably accompanied by his mother, sues the Sûreté du Québec and the prosecutor general of Quebec for 10 million dollars.

The other aspect contested by the Bettez family concerned requests filed by Sûreté du Québec lawyers so that the trial is not fully made public.

We are asking for closed doors, we are asking for procedures ex parte, we are asking for publication bans, underlined Monday Mr. Héroux who demands, like his clients, that everything be public in order to allow the public to form their own opinion.

Jonathan Bettez must testify at the trial .

The Attorney General and the Sûreté du Québec oppose the publication of the debates and evidence , because the perpetrator of the kidnapping and murder is still at large and the publication of this sensitive information could benefit him. Since Jonathan Bettez had not yet been excluded from the list of suspects, the police did not want to give him this advantage either.

Jonathan Bettez, who has never been charged in connection with the disappearance of Cédrika Provencher, was arrested by the SQ in August 2016 , the same day the girl would have turned 19, to face charges of possessing and distributing child pornography. He was subsequently acquitted of all 10 charges against him.

The police team had also conducted searches at Emballages Bettez, his parents' company.

In October 2018, the Judge Jacques Lacoursière had severely criticized the work of the SQ investigators in this case. 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