Trial Normandeau: the sources of Guy Ouellette are in the game

News 25 January, 2018
  • Photo Simon Clark
    Guy Ouellette

    Jean-Luc Lavallée

    Thursday, 25 January 2018 21:34

    Thursday, 25 January 2018 21:38

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    The immunity of a member of parliament extends well beyond the walls of parliament. It should also apply to the telephone records of Guy Ouellette in order to protect its sources, will advocate the national Assembly at the trial of Nathalie Normandeau Friday.

    The two cases, high-profile, were given an appointment on Friday morning in the same courtroom at the palace of justice of Quebec. The question of parliamentary privilege will be discussed in the framework of the preliminary motions, the trial of the former deputy prime minister, liberal, coaccusée with another ex-liberal minister, Marc-Yvan Côté, and four other people suspected of fraud, conspiracy, corruption and breach of trust.

    Recall that Mr. Côté has filed an application for stay of proceedings due to leaks in the media that have negatively affected, according to him, to his right to obtain a fair and just trial. The Crown wishes to submit in proof of the elements of the investigation by the UPAC on leaks in order to respond to the allegations of laxity of the defence.

    However, it is the same investigation that led to the arrest of mp Ouellette. His phone calls and text messages from her cell phone – provided by the national Assembly – are currently under seal in another judicial district, the time to settle the debate on parliamentary privilege.

    Two years of phone records

    A document of 32 pages produced by counsel for the national Assembly to Me Giuseppe Battista, in anticipation of the court debate, reveals that the UPAC and the DPCP has obtained the records of telephone mp Ouellette several months before his arrest last October, and this, for a period of two years. Mr. Ouellette is suspected by the UPAC to have flowed from the investigation to the media.

    “Given the dual role of member and chair of a committee (editor’s NOTE : one of the institutions in charge of studying a draft law on the status of the UPAC), it is clear that a number of the reports made by the member for Chomedey with this phone were directly connected to his or her parliamentary duties,” observes Me Battista in his plan of argument received a premiere on Radio-Canada Thursday.

    Protection of whistleblowers

    “It is important to note that, in the course of their duties, the members receive information from various sources […] It is necessary that the communications made to members of parliament to be protected. Thus, to ensure that the freedom of speech of parliamentarians to materialize, it is necessary that they can have all the information necessary to their deliberations, and that this information can remain confidential, ” added the prosecutor.

    “We can assume that [Guy Ouellette] has communicated with the staff and other members of the commission that he led, co-workers, members of parliament from his party or other parties, of ministers or possibly the prime minister. Clearly, the very existence of these calls, their number and the time in which they were housed are of the “inside information”, pleaded he.

    Not above the law

    Me Battista recalls that members of parliament are not above the law, but that it should act ” as guardian of the rights and privileges of the national Assembly and of each of its members “. His intervention in the trial Normandeau “is not intended to promote or harm to anyone,” he insists.