Given his “sincere regrets”, former PQ MP Harold LeBel will be released from prison, eight weeks after being sentenced to eight months in prison for sexual assault in late January. After pleading his innocence in court, he now claims to “totally believe” his victim’s story.

In a decision rendered Tuesday by the Quebec Conditional Liberation Commission, the organization notes, despite the “objective gravity” of his crime, the fact that Harold LeBel now shows “empathy towards the victim”.

After denying the sexual assault of which he was accused during the trial, the ex-MP is now showing himself to be “repentant” and “open” to the recommendations made to him in detention in order to “better understand the reasons underlying his the act”.

Recall that he was sentenced on January 26 to eight months in prison after being found guilty last November of the sexual assault of a young woman in her Rimouski apartment in 2017 while the latter slept there with a mutual friend. in the context of a business trip.

The young woman, whose identity is still protected by a court order, explained during the trial that Harold LeBel notably undid her bra, then spent the night touching her while she was staying. motionless, unable to sleep.

The 60-year-old ex-politician claimed his innocence and told the court that a kiss between the two was consensual.

However, in the hope of obtaining his parole, Harold LeBel admitted to the Commission that he then adhered to “the strategy recommended by [his] criminal lawyer”.

During the trial, the ex-MP actually realized that he had “an erroneous perception” of the facts with which he was charged. “You say you totally believe the victim’s version and you want to understand how you came to do these things. You express sincere remorse towards the victim,” the Commission notes.

The officer in charge of assessing his case describes him as “an individual with compromised self-esteem, with unmet emotional and sexual needs when acting out.”

The 60-year-old man will thus be able to leave prison at a quarter of his sentence in order to complete it in a halfway house, under several conditions. Note, under the Correctional System Act of Quebec, an inmate can be released on parole after serving one-sixth of their sentence, if eligible.

During his two months of detention, Harold LeBel was not the subject of any disciplinary report, notes the Commission.

He will now be cared for by a halfway house where his return to the community “will therefore be gradual and supervised”.