The civil trial of Hugues Duguay and Billy Taillefer has begun
Billy Taillefer and Hugues Duguay are claiming $80 million in a civil lawsuit. The trial before the Superior Court began Monday at the Val-d'Or courthouse.
The proceedings began Monday at the Val-d'Or courthouse as part of of the civil lawsuit filed by Billy Taillefer and Hugues Duguay against the City of Val-d'Or and the Attorney General of Quebec.
The two men are seeking $45 million and $35 million respectively in damages for the years spent in prison following their conviction for the murder of teenager Sandra Gaudet, which occurred in 1990 in Val-d'Or.
The plaintiffs, who were acquitted after 12 and 11 years in prison, argue that the police officers of the Sûreté municipale de Val-d'Or and the Sûreté du Québec, like the prosecutor of the Crown during the trial, failed to disclose a series of testimonies, statements and personal notes that could have avoided their conviction in 1991.
As soon as the proceedings opened on Monday, Judge Marc Paradis, of the Superior Court, recalled that the objective was not to redo the criminal trial over the next three weeks. He established the parameters of the proceedings by specifying that his mission was to determine whether the evidence undisclosed at the time could have had an impact on the outcome of the trial.
Hugues Duguay and Billy Taillefer go to the Val-d'Or courthouse for a lawsuit before the Superior Court.
The day continued with the testimony of Hugues Duguay. Questioned by his lawyer, Me Louis Belleau, he described not only his interactions with the police in 1990 but also the difficult journey he experienced in prison after his conviction.
Hugues Duguay also withdrew his guilty plea to manslaughter during his second trial in 1995.
After reading the judgment of the Court of call, I realized it wasn't going well, they didn't believe us. I accepted the offer of 12 years in prison because I saw no other way out, he told the court before emotionally reading a letter of apology he had written to Billy Taillefer at the time.
Hugues Duguay also testified that it was the report of the Poitras commission on the work of police services in Quebec, in 1999, which made him discover the content of testimonies that had never been disclosed by the police. Truckers, a taxi driver and a friend of Sandra Gaudet had all given statements that could have undermined the theory put forward by the Crown during the trial of Duguay and Taillefer in 1991.