An officer from the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) sentenced to a 10-month suspended prison sentence for sexually assaulting a woman has lost his appeal. The Superior Court has indeed confirmed the guilty verdict and the sentence imposed three years ago.

“The Court concludes that the first judge did not err in principle,” judge Hélène Di Salvo determined last Friday at the Montreal courthouse, rejecting one by one all of André Hébert Ledoux, SPVM police officer since 2011.

The 35-year-old Montrealer was found guilty of sexual assault in March 2020, at the end of his trial. The events took place in 2017, when the accused was celebrating with friends on Halloween night. The group of friends had gone to visit a haunted house in the Rosemont district.

André Hébert Ledoux, in an advanced state of intoxication, takes advantage of the absence of the victim’s spouse to grab his buttocks and take his breasts from behind, laughing. The woman pushes him away with both hands, but falls to the ground. She screams to let her go, as her attacker tries to pick her up.

“Then he puts his hand inside her panties and inserts his finger into her vagina. She pushes him away a second time. In the meantime, [the victim’s spouse] arrives. The accused jumps on him. [The spouse] falls on the column of his (speaker) ”, recounts the trial judge.

The next day, André Hébert Ledoux sends text messages to the victim to apologize for his behavior and he tells him that he is disgusted. He claims to have no recollection of the events.

The defense called for the imposition of a conditional discharge – a particularly lenient sentence – while the Crown asked for a suspended sentence. Even this suggestion was deemed “too lenient” by Judge Pierre Bélisle. The magistrate had thus imposed a sentence of 10 months’ imprisonment to be served in the community.

Note that the charge was filed summarily, not by indictment. A major difference since the summary procedure (reserved for “less serious” offenses) is punishable by a maximum sentence of 18 months, against 10 years for the indictable offence.

During the trial of André Hébert Ledoux, three police officers had intimidated the victim in the witness box, in the absence of the judge. The victim had collapsed on the ground in tears, so she had felt intimidated by the behavior of the police.

Sergeant-supervisor Stevens Hamelin and agent Félicia Adam, of the SPVM, as well as agent Julien Côté, of the Longueuil agglomeration police service (SPAL), had acted in “connivance”, according to judge Bélisle. “Such reprehensible behavior has no place in the courtroom and must be exposed,” the judge concluded. However, the accused was not connected to this incident, according to the judge.

“If the accused was a plumber and there had been four plumbers next to the victim, probably they would all have been arrested. But because they are police officers, we say that it is different, that it is normal for them to be close to the victim “, pleaded at the time the prosecutor Sacha Blais (now a judge at the Court of Quebec) .

In 2020, the SPVM and the SPAL told La Presse that they had launched an internal investigation. We contacted these police forces on Monday to find out the conclusions. They had not yet responded to our request Monday noon.