Dangerous offender Jean-Pierre Bellemare was found guilty by a jury of sexually assaulting two employees of a halfway house with a firearm. The jury was unaware that the defendant had been given an extremely harsh sentence last year for the kidnapping of a teenage girl.
A month of trial, less than a day of deliberations. The jurors did not debate very long to return a unanimous guilty verdict last Thursday at the trial of Jean-Pierre Bellemare, at the Montreal courthouse. From the outset, the Crown announced that it intended to file a motion to have him declared a dangerous offender.
This rare label, Jean-Pierre Bellemare already has it. He was even sentenced to an “indeterminate term”, an exceptional measure of the Criminal Code, in November 2022. However, he is on appeal in this case. In September 2018, he participated in the kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl who was waiting for the bus in Sutton. Fortunately, the teenager had managed to escape.
The present case takes place in July 2018, just a few weeks before the abduction of the teenager. Hooded and armed with a firearm, Jean-Pierre Bellemare broke into a halfway house in eastern Montreal – where he has already been housed – and attacked two young employees.
The two victims lived through a real ordeal at the hands of their executioner. “I’m going to die,” thought Geneviève*, one of the victims. When his colleague Fanny* asked him what he wanted, Jean-Pierre Bellemare put the barrel of his gun on his head. “You wanna play tough?” [Do you want to play hard? ],” he told her, in English.
Jean-Pierre Bellemare first forced Fanny to perform oral sex on him, before sexually assaulting the other victim. “I almost threw up,” Geneviève said, recounting the particularly harrowing attack in detail.
The assailant then sprayed the two women in the face with pepper spray and fled. “The pain I felt was so intense I thought I had been shot [with a gun]. I couldn’t breathe,” Genevieve said.
The DNA of Jean-Pierre Bellemare was found on the pants and the body of one of the victims, which allowed the public prosecutor to prove his identity.
During the events, the hooded assailant spoke in English with an Italian accent, obviously to cover his tracks, since Jean-Pierre Bellemare is French-speaking.
The accused did not present a defence. He defended himself alone. Sentencing submissions will take place in the coming weeks.
Me Patrick Lafrenière represents the public ministry.