“Someone lied to me!” This is what Judge Bertrand Saint-Arnaud said during the pleadings in the case of the South Shore police officer accused of sexual assault on a citizen.
“Surely someone lied. In some cases, it is less clear. But here, I think that on the essentials, it is clear that there is someone who lied to me this week […] The two versions are difficult to reconcile, “said the magistrate, at the courthouse of Longueuil on Thursday, while the lawyers presented their last arguments in the trial of Yannick Dauphinais.
The police officer and the citizen – who cannot be identified due to a court order – met at a gas station in La Prairie on July 20, 2021. After approaching her, the police officer suggested that the woman follow her to the IGA where she was going, a few meters further. There, he asked her for her phone number.
The next day, the accused texted the woman to offer to visit her at home for a few minutes. She accepted, but specified that she should quickly leave for her job.
The woman claims the officer kissed her on the mouth and fondled her buttocks and breasts. He allegedly took her hand and directed it to her crotch and asked her for “a treat.” To avoid giving him oral sex or being penetrated, the complainant agreed to masturbate him for two minutes until he ejaculated. She feared the reaction of the man she had talked to for less than 10 minutes the day before, she told the court.
Yannick Dauphinais instead claimed that the two, the accused and the complainant, shared a “flirt” and also, that he had “love at first sight” for the smiling, sparkling-eyed woman. He claimed that she was the “enterprising” one who kissed him and moved her hand to his penis.
On Thursday, the defendant’s lawyer, Me Félix R. Larose, argued that the complainant had a “tendency to aggravate” the facts. Me Amélie Rivard, Crown prosecutor, argued instead that the accused was presenting a “fictionalized” version of events.
Me Larose put forward text messages that the complainant exchanged with friends a few hours after giving her number to the police officer. She wrote that she had been arrested by the agent, then an employee of the Roussillon intermunicipal police board.
“The plaintiff has no respect for the truth,” pleaded Me Larose. “There is a way of presenting the facts to his friends that is not consistent with what happened,” he said. “It’s weird, it’s disturbing,” he added.
Although the complainant and her friends condemned the police officer’s action, she still responded to a text message from the accused, argued Me Larose.
“Not only will she answer it, but she will invite him to come to her house, alone, without calling anyone. She agrees to see him again. It is a proposal to which she gives her approval. She accommodates him as to the time of his coming to her house and she will even hurry, ”said Me Larose.
For her part, Me Amélie Rivard categorically rejected the “flirting” thesis. “I suggest to you that if there was a flirtation, it was one-sided,” she said.
“What emerges from the evidence in relation to the visit [at her home] is that the accused invites himself to Ms. and Ms. again nods. Mrs. nods when [he] approaches her. Ms. nods when [he] asks her to follow her to the IGA, Ms. nods when [he] invites himself to her home,” said the prosecutor, speaking of a person who “imposes himself” on the other.
The prosecutor also discredited the accused who was “unable to admit that his office may have had an impact on the perception of the complainant”. The alleged victim told the court that she had confidence since Yannick Dauphinais was a police officer and that he was on duty when he showed up at his house.
In the hours following the events, the complainant confided in a friend and her boss. The latter encouraged her to go to the police station. The Office of Independent Investigations conducted the investigation.
Judge Bertrand Saint-Arnaud is due to render his decision on July 3, in the district of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.