In letter sent to petitioners seeking removal of appointment of Judge Poliquin, the Conseil de la magistrature confirms that it has initiated the examination of a complaint against the latter.
In a letter sent to the authors of a petition calling for the revocation of the appointment of Judge Poliquin, the Council of the Judiciary confirms having started examining a complaint against the magistrate.
The Judicial Council has indeed started examining a complaint against the magistrate. place of judge Matthieu Poliquin.
Matthieu Poliquin is the young judge who granted a conditional discharge to engineer Simon Houle last June after he pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and voyeurism for acts committed in 2019 .
In a missive to the authors of a petition calling for the revocation of the appointment of Judge Poliquin, of which The Canadian Press obtained a copy, the Conseil de la magistrature acknowledges receipt of the complaint and confirms that in accordance with the applicable procedure, the members of the Council will undertake to examine it at a future meeting.
The note adds that, as a first step, the members of the Council will examine whether the alleged facts are likely , or not, to constitute a breach of the Judicial Code of Ethics and, if so, whether there is reason to investigate the complaint.
The Judicial Council itself refuses to confirm the review, as complaints are confidential at this stage. The Secretary of the Council, Annie-Claude Bergeron, however recognized, when joined by The Canadian Press, that we cannot prevent people from reproducing the answer which could be sent to them. The next meeting of Council members is due at the end of August and that is when a decision should be made.
The petition, posted July 7, garnered more than 4,600 signatures in one week, which pleasantly surprised its initiator, Kareen Emery.
People got on board super fast. I myself was surprised because we agree that we do not always see a craze for petitions, she said in a telephone interview .
I had more than 3000 signatures when I contacted the Judicial Council, telling them that the petition was still young and that it was going to increase, and it did.
Ms. Emery did not hide her satisfaction with the result obtained.
What I was asking was to assess whether this person should go under investigation and that is exactly what they are going to do. So I'm satisfied. I think that's where we could go the furthest. We showed that we were dissatisfied and I tell myself that if this kind of action is taken up again in the future and that each time there are judges who demonstrate decisions that do not go depending on who we want to be as a nation, at some point they will think about it a little more before giving them back, she added, laughing.
The judge's decision caused an outcry, not only because of the discharge itself, but more importantly because of the reasons given by the judge for granting it. The magistrate thus considered, in support of the absolution, that the sexual assault had taken place after all quickly, that the accused had been drinking and that he was a person of good morality.
The judge also pointed out that a conviction would have particularly negative and disproportionate consequences for him, as he could hardly travel outside of the country, which could possibly hamper his career as an engineer.
Like many others, Kareen Emery did not digest the magistrate's remarks.
I was completely frustrated to see an inexperienced judge coming to conclusions like this in 2022. I figured that didn't make sense. The reasons given are so weak. I put myself in the shoes of a victim or an alleged victim and to hear this kind of thing in the verdict at the end of the trial, it was unacceptable in my head. I saw that there was the same frustration in my entourage, she added to explain her decision to launch the petition.
A short search taught her that the Judicial Council is the only one with disciplinary power over judges.
I asked myself what I could do as a citizen to have an impact there- on it and I saw what it took to have a formal complaint, so I started the petition.
Simon Houle, who received a conditional discharge from Judge Mathieu Poliquin in June 2022.
The Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), who was demanding 18 months imprisonment, has already indicated that he will appeal this decision.
Contrary to the usual discretion displayed by a Minister of Justice, the holder of the post, Simon Jolin-Barrette, came out of his reserve, saying he was deeply shocked by the decision. It was Minister Jolin-Barrette who appointed Judge Poliquin in September 2021.
The decision also led to a demonstration in front of the Montreal courthouse, Sunday, and an open letter signed by nearly 40 engineers, published on Tuesday, aimed to denounce the fact that the abuser's profession could have been used to mitigate his sentence.
Engineer Simon Houle, who lost his job following the media coverage of his case, had also admitted during his trial to have committed another act of aggression sexual assault in 2015 which had not been brought to justice.
What's more, another woman has just filed a complaint against him for touching of a sexual nature which allegedly occurred very recently on a trip to Cuba.