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Touching of Léa Clermont-Dion: Michel Venne tries to break the verdict

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Ex-journalist Michel Venne is trying to invalidate his guilty verdict by applying to the Court of Appeal. (Archive photo)

  • Yannick Bergeron (View profile)Yannick Bergeron

Ex-journalist Michel Venne appeared before the Court of Appeal on Thursday at Quebec, to try to convince judges to overturn his conviction for assaulting author and director Léa Clermont-Dion.

The 63-year-old's lawyers say the judge who heard the trial made legal errors, leading him to issue an unreasonable verdict.

He analyzed the testimonies unevenly, argued Me Lida Sara Nouraie, who defends the man who headed the Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM), an organization he co-founded to promote citizen engagement in social and democratic life.

The victim was 17 years old when she accompanied Venne to Quebec for an INM activity in 2008. After a walk a few minutes at the end of the evening to take the teenager home, he had touched her.

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Michel Venne was sentenced to six months in prison in November 2021. However, he was released during the appeal process.

It was in 2017, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, that Léa Clermont-Dion filed a complaint.

Me Nouraie submitted to the Court of Appeal that the credibility and reliability of witnesses were at the heart of the debate.

According to her, the trial judge misjudged the testimonies, forgiving errors in that of Léa Clermont-Dion while being more severe towards that of Michel Venne .

The prosecution replies that the ex-journalist was entitled to a fair trial. By raising several grounds of appeal, the defense is showing imagination, observed Me Olivier T. Raymond, of the DPCP.

If we need to pull in all directions, it is perhaps because the judgment is unassailable, added the prosecutor.

The three judges of the Court of Appeal reserved the case. Léa Clermont-Dion attended the hearing, as did Michel Venne, who was sentenced to six months in prison. He is, however, at large during the appeal process.

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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