In addition to Normandeau and Côté, the Crown prosecutes Mario W. Martel and France Michaud (former directors of Roche), François Roussy (former mayor of Gaspé) and Bruno Lortie (former chief of staff of Nathalie Normandeau).
The prosecutor had previously warned his fellow defense lawyers. Only Bruno Lortie was present since he represents himself alone. The case before the Court of Quebec is currently immobilized, pending a decision of the Supreme Court on journalistic sources and the fate of a motion for a stay of proceedings.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Nathalie Normandeau continues to face three charges, including breach of trust. Initially, the prosecution had filed eight charges against the ex-female politician. Former Liberal organizer Marc-Yvan Côté will have to defend him on five charges rather than nine.
The DPCP claims to be "excessively comfortable" with the charges upheld. "The main corpus of the file remains intact, believes Me Richard Rougeau. They are important leaders and in our opinion very, very significant and more specifically representative of the actions that are alleged. "
In particular, the DPCP withdrew the conspiracy charges, which are very complex to prove. "It weighs heavily on the procedures, the charges of conspiracy, so we made decisions to that effect," says Mr. Rougeau.
The DPCP ensures that it is not "concerned" with the issue of court delays for this case, which has been going on for three and a half years. "But deadlines affect us," says the Crown Attorney.
The decision of the DPCP was made taking into account all available information and "is not the consequence of the establishment of the Oath investigation (of the Bureau of Independent Investigations) on journalistic leakage", continues the Crown attorney.
Acquittal, the only solution
Nathalie Normandeau's lawyer, Maxime Roy, urges the DPCP to continue its reflection. "It's a file that should never have had a beginning," says Roy. The only solution for us is a total acquittal. "
For a year now, Me Roy has submitted to the DPCP documents from government policies that demonstrate, in his view, that his client has nothing to be ashamed of and acted in the context of his mandate as minister.
If the UPAC police had taken the trouble to question his client, the lawyer added, they would have known from the start these government policies.
During a possible trial, Ms. Normandeau will have to explain why she gave a grant to a municipal entity.
The case will return to court on October 18th.