Simon Houle received absolution after sexually assaulting a woman and taking photos of her privates in Trois-Rivières in 2019. He had pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and voyeurism.
In her arguments before the Court of Appeal last December, Counsel for the Director of Prosecutions and Prosecutions (DPCP), Ève-Lyne Goulet, confirmed that the first-instance decision meant that the aggravating factors of Simon Houles’ circumstances were underestimated Crime.
On Wednesday, Judges Guy Gagnon, Suzanne Gagné and Sophie Lavallée of the Court of Appeals reversed the conditional discharge granted in June 2022 by Judge Matthieu Poliquin of the Quebec Court.
The Québec court’s ruling had sparked outrage from organizations supporting the victims and caused a public outcry.
The victim tried to flee
In making his decision, Judge Poliquin took into account that the defendant had no criminal record, that he had undergone a therapeutic procedure, that he was considered an asset to society and that a conviction could potentially hinder him by preventing his career as an engineer and preventing him from to travel abroad.
In order to justify its decision, the magistrate had addressed the contextual and ad hoc nature of the events. Although the state of intoxication in which the accused was found could not be taken as an excuse, the judge reiterated that this could help explain his behavior.
In addition, Judge Poliquin had assessed that the aggression committed by Simon Houle had taken place quickly.
However, in its arguments before the Court of Appeal, the DPCP revealed that the sexual assault lasted at least 24 minutes.
The DPCP also revealed that the attack took place in at least three different rooms of an apartment.
For the DPCP, Simon Houle showed implacability towards his victim, who had tried to escape by fleeing from him into the apartment.
Simon Houle also kept nine photos of the victim’s privates in his cell phone for 44 days.
“The nature of the sexual act committed by Mr Houle is not trivial and increases the risk of harm to the victim. »
— A quote from an excerpt of the Québec Court of Appeals verdict against Simon Houle
In its decision, the Court of Appeal recalled that the crimes committed by Simon Houle were of medium and high severity. Voyeurism is punishable with imprisonment of up to 5 years and sexual assault with imprisonment of up to 10 years.
In this case, the Court of Appeal considered, among other aggravating factors, the extent of the violation of the victim’s physical and sexual integrity; the number and content of photos taken without her knowledge and the fact that those photos were accessible on Simon Houle’s phone for a month and a half.
Other aggravating factors: the psychological and financial consequences suffered by the victim.
The court also recalls that Simon Houle was 27 when he committed these offences, had previously been convicted of drunk driving and had confessed to sexually touching a sleeping young woman.
According to the Higher Regional Court, it cannot therefore be a juvenile error or an accident.
Simon Houle must present himself to prison authorities no later than 3 p.m. on January 30. His 12-month sentence includes a one-year sentence for the sexual assault to be served concurrently with a two-month sentence for the act of voyeurism.
A new offense
Less than two weeks after Simon Houle received a parole, a woman filed a sexual assault complaint against him. Your identity is now protected by a publication ban.
Following that complaint, Simon Houle was charged with breaching his probation conditions. This case is pending in court.