At risk of death, exiled and under police protection, the relatives of a young criminal who had offered the Longueuil police to become an informant in a firearms case have been living in fear since the video of his offer of cooperation was found on social networks. They are seeking more than $220,000 from the city of Longueuil for police negligence.
Posted at 5:32pm
Louis Samuel Perron The Press
The three relatives of the accused have been hiding for a year. They are “seriously threatened,” a judge ruled last February. They even had a “contract” turned on their head. They also benefited from the witness protection program of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal.
These three people, whose identities are protected, had to change their appearance and change cities. You no longer leave your apartment alone. One of them claims that the threats forced her to give up her promising career.
” [Elles] had to make multiple sacrifices to protect their integrity and safety,” concludes a lawsuit filed in Montreal court and released Monday.
Her nightmare began last year when a relative, an already hardened young criminal (Mr. X), offered an investigator from the Longueuil Metropolitan Police (SPAL) during a filmed interrogation to become a collaborator with justice. Mr X, who was arrested with a firearm in August 2021 in the DIX30 district, wanted to report other offenders in exchange for a reduced sentence.
“I’ll help you. I’ll take you back to them for arresting me that day with a small gun. Do you want five or six guns? Do you want to grab some real guns? Do you want to grab the houses where it is is? The Coke?” he asked the investigator, La Presse reported last year.
A few days later, the unedited video of the interrogation landed on social media just as it had been made available to the defendant’s and his co-defendants’ lawyers. A compromising excerpt from the video with the word “RAT”, the young man’s name and date of birth landed on the TikTok platform.
La Presse revealed last year that organized crime ally Kevin St-Pierre and his ex-wife, criminal defense attorney Noémi Tellier, were the subject of an investigation in connection with the video’s release. Me Tellier, the lawyer for Mr X’s accomplice, was arrested by police last year and then released without charge. She denies any involvement in the case.
A judge cuts off the police
In the civil action, the three plaintiffs accuse the SPAL police officers of not redacting sensitive information from Mr X’s questioning before the disclosure of the evidence.
“By failing to take the necessary steps to protect Mr X’s identity and the contents of the recording of his interrogation [le SPAL] seriously undermining the security and integrity of not only Mr. X, but of [ses proches] ‘ we argue in the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs cite a decision by Judge Louise Leduc of the Quebec Court last February in relation to a motion by Mr. X. to stay the proceedings. The judge concludes that the state made “mistakes” by failing to adequately protect the accused. Even if he didn’t have whistleblower status, he should have enjoyed “customary witness protection,” the judge concluded.
The judge criticizes the state for the “lack of attention” to the file and the speedy transmission of the evidence. Instead of disclosing the video as it is, it would have been possible to redact it or provide lawyers with a summary of the testimony, the judge suggests. The defense’s right of evidence is not absolute when it comes to the safety of third parties, she reminds.
However, despite the state’s errors, Judge Leduc concluded that Mr. X’s requested stay of the court case was unjustified. The magistrate found no “suspicion of bad faith, questionable strategy or crooked motives” on the part of the state, but only a lack of “vigilance”.
In addition, the state is not solely responsible in this case. Without naming names, the judge mentions that Mr X’s co-defendants’ lawyer acted as the “transmission tape for the breakdown”. In addition, Mr. X, a “highly criminalized” man, was aware of the risk involved in his attempt at collaboration. Furthermore, according to the judge, redacting his video would not have completely protected him from reprisals.
The SPAL did not respond to our interview request.