The identity of the victim of former PQ Harold LeBel could be made public in the coming weeks. The young woman has indeed filed a request to lift the publication ban in force against her.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday at the Rimouski courthouse to begin the process in this regard. Sources closely involved in the case, however, confirmed to La Presse on Wednesday that the intention is not to have the order lifted imminently, but rather within a few weeks.
Recall that the complainant had been called back to the bar in extremis in November after the defense lawyer learned that the young woman was participating in a Quebecor documentary in which she intended to reveal her identity. A lifting of the order was therefore necessary, even foreseeable, to proceed with the possible broadcast of this documentary.
“I want to turn these traumatic events into something positive, maybe even for society by explaining the legal process,” the victim mentioned last November, explaining that this documentary is part of his journey, and that after having sought at all costs to protect her identity from the public, she now feels ready to reveal it.
This all comes the day after a decision handed down on Tuesday by the Quebec Conditional Liberation Commission, which approved Mr. LeBel’s release from prison despite the “objective seriousness” of his crime, judging that the former elected official now demonstrates ” empathy for the victim”.
After initially denying the sexual assault he was accused of at trial, the ex-MP is now “repentant” and “open” to the recommendations made to him in custody to “better understand the underlying motives to the act,” the Commission notes in its decision.
Mr. LeBel was sentenced on January 26 to a total of eight months in prison, after being convicted a few months earlier of the sexual assault of a young woman in her Rimouski apartment in 2017 when the latter slept there with a mutual friend on a business trip.
During the trial, the victim had explained in particular that Harold LeBel had unhooked her bra, then spent the night touching her while she remained motionless, unable to sleep.
Note: The victim of Harold LeBel would not be the first complainant in a sexual assault case to reveal her identity at the end of the trial. Recently, documentary filmmaker Léa Clermont-Dion chose to remain anonymous throughout the sexual assault trial of ex-journalist Michel Venne. She was finally out of the shadows after the verdict.