National News

Quebec judicial council rejects complaint over judge's sexual assault ruling

By The Canadian Press

Published 1:01 PST, Wed November 23, 2022

Last Updated: 2:33 PST, Wed November 23, 2022

The Quebec judicial council has rejected complaints about a judge who granted a conditional discharge to a young engineer who pleaded guilty to sexual assault and voyeurism.

Quebec court Judge Matthieu Poliquin's June 2022 decision to grant Simon Houle probation and a conditional discharge — in part because a conviction would have made it hard for Houle to travel for his job as an engineer — caused an uproar in the province.

In a decision posted to its website last week, the council, without naming any of the particulars in the case, found that there was no breach by the judge of his ethical obligations, and the council found the complaints against him unfounded.

The ruling specifies that a complaint must target the conduct of the judge, adding that the three complaints filed against Poliquin related strictly to the judgment rendered.

The council says in its decision that it is not an appeal or review body and does not comment on the fairness of court decisions.

The Crown has sought leave to appeal the sentence in the Houle case, and the Court of Appeal will hear it on Dec. 9.

Also Wednesday, the Crown announced it has charged Houle with breaching conditions from that sentence, stemming from an incident in Cuba where a Quebec woman accused him of making gestures of a sexual nature toward her.

Houle is alleged to have breached the condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and he will appear at the St-Jérôme courthouse on Dec. 2.

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