Guilty of sexual assault, the ex-ski coach Bertrand Charest appealed

News 19 July, 2017
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    Bertrand Charest

    Claudia Berthiaume

    Tuesday, 18 July 2017 12:35

    Tuesday, 18 July 2017 12:35

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    Less than a month after he was convicted of sexually assaulting nine skiers, former ski coach Bertrand Charest is appealing his guilty verdict.

    The coach stripped of Mont-Tremblant application to the Court of appeal to intervene.

    Detained since his arrest in march 2015, Bertrand Charest is still waiting for his sentence for sexually assaulting nine young women under his command, in the 1990s.

    But now the 52 year old man, who did not testify at his trial, believes that he deserved to be acquitted.

    After a notice of appeal filed today, which The Journal has obtained a copy, the defence raises twenty points on which the judge Sylvain Lépine would have “erred” when it returned its verdict on June 22.

    Not a sexual predator

    According to the defence, Bertrand Charest is not a sexual predator, as found by the magistrate. “No evidence, or no complainant, or no experts have come to establish this fact throughout the trial, which took place in front of him,” writes to Me Antonio Cabral.

    The criminal is also of the opinion that not all the victims have given credible testimony, and without contradiction.

    “Some of them have testified to the effect that they had talked about the facts of the case with other people while at the outset it had been stated by the prosecution that none of them had talked about it before the start of the trial and/or before making a complaint to the police”, one reads in the notice of appeal.

    And the cross-examination would have enabled them to raise a number of contradictions that have not been taken into account, adds it.

    For the defence, Bertrand Charest did not have a total control over its athletes, “since a significant portion of the elements taken into account by the judge to conclude as well that correspond to the tasks intrinsic to a coach”.

    In addition, the coach forfeit would never have used a modus operandi pre-determined to reach its goals, supports Me Cabral in his appeal.

    “The judge of first instance erred in fact in finding that the seduction in small steps, is established in one of his topics was,” says the criminal defence lawyer.

    Widespread practice

    Finally, in regards to touching the breasts and buttocks made by the coach, he would not have had to see gestures of a sexual nature, according to the defense.

    “…This kind of behavior has been often described by the complainants as being a widespread practice at the level of the skiing,” says one.

    Bertrand Charest had his trial last march, at the palais de justice in Saint-Jérôme, about 57 heads of exploitation and sexual abuse of 12 girls, aged between 12 and 19 years.

    He was found guilty of 37 charges, which related to nine young athletes.

    The judge Sylvain Lépine had qualified the evidence of the Crown of”extreme”, while in the flesh the work of the defence.

    Bertrand Charest must return to court next month.