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Val-d’Or police officers against Radio-Canada: defamation trial opens Monday

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The main post of the Sûreté du Québec of the MRC La Vallée-de-l'Or, in Val-d'Or. (Archive photo)

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The defamation trial of around forty Val-d'Or police officers against Radio -Canada and journalist Josée Dupuis opens Monday at the Montreal courthouse.

These police officers of the Sûreté du Québec affirm that the report Abuse of the SQ : women break the silence, broadcast during the fall of 2015 on the show Enquête, was “biased and misleading”, according to what can be read in the application initiating proceedings.

Radio-Canada maintains, on the contrary, that the report was carried out with rigor and seriousness.

The two parties will assert their arguments before the Superior Court of Quebec.

On October 22, 2015, journalist Josée Dupuis presented her report to the Enquête show. We hear from indigenous women from Val-d'Or who claim to have been victims of abuse of power and even sexual abuse at the hands of Sûreté du Québec police officers.

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The next day, Lise Thériault, then Minister of Public Security, announced that an investigation into these allegations had been entrusted to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).

Eight police officers are also subject to administrative withdrawal, “five patrol officers from the MRC de la Vallée-de-l'Or station and three others working elsewhere in Quebec”, then indicated the spokesperson for the SQ, Captain Guy Lapointe.

The SPVM submits its report one year after the broadcast of the report and the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) announces, in November 2016, that he will not lay charges against the Val-d'Or police officers.< /p>

DPCP representatives clarified that the absence of charges does not mean that the allegations were unfounded, but that the evidence is insufficient to bring criminal charges.

The eight suspended police officers also returned to their posts and reached an agreement with the SQ management to resolve grievances.< /p>Open in full screen mode

The report from the show Enquête broadcast in October 2015 on Radio-Canada Télé is at the center of this pursuit. (Archive photo)

Also in 2016, the Sûreté du Québec announced the creation of a police station mixed in Val-d'Or, composed of indigenous and non-indigenous police officers as well as psychosocial workers. This model will subsequently be implemented in other cities in Quebec.

Faced with pressure from numerous indigenous communities and several organizations, the Couillard government announced in December 2016 the creation of a commission of inquiry responsible for studying the events in Val-d'Or, but more broadly all relations between Aboriginal people and public services.

Two and a half years later, the Viens Commission released its report, which contains 142 calls to action.

One year after the broadcast of the Enquête report, in October 2016, 42 Val-d'Or police officers file a defamation suit worth nearly $3 million against Radio-Canada and journalist Josée Dupuis.

In court documents, the plaintiffs argue that the report conveys a biased and defamatory portrait of Val-d'Or police officers, which is based entirely on the perceptions of alleged victims of abuse as well as those of people offering hearing testimonies. – to say, all amplified by the comments of Josée Dupuis.

We criticize the fact that journalistic standards do not were not respected in preparing and publishing this report, adds Mr. Marco Gaggino, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, in an interview.

Radio-Canada, for its part, reiterates that the report was of great public interest. We intend to demonstrate the seriousness and rigor of our team's journalistic approach, indicates in writing Marc Pichette, Senior Director, Marketing Communications and Media Relations, at the state corporation.

The case will be argued before the Superior Court of Quebec, at the Montreal courthouse, starting Monday. The trial is scheduled to last 13 weeks.

There are a large number of witnesses who will testify. Notably, we have 42 applicants on file. These people must all testify because they will share the individual damage they suffered as a result of the reporting. Also, witnesses will appear for Radio-Canada and experts will testify, so that's a large number of testimonies to be heard by the court, underlines Mr. Gaggino.

Each of the 42 officers is seeking between $30,000 and $50,000 in damages.

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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