March 3rd, 2024

Quebec judge opts against blanket ban in lawsuit hearing involving provincial police

By The Canadian Press on January 23, 2024.

A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled that a hearing this week for a man suing provincial police will not be subject to a blanket ban as sought by the government but will be decided case by case. Jonathan Bettez is shown at court in Montreal on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sidhartha Banerjee

MONTREAL – A Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled against a blanket ban being sought by the attorney general to shield evidence in the ongoing investigation into a nine-year-old girl’s killing.

The ruling today is part of a $10-million lawsuit brought by Jonathan Bettez, who claims he was unfairly targeted by investigators in the 2007 disappearance of Cédrika Provencher.

The young girl’s skeletal remains were discovered in Trois-Rivières, Que., in December 2015 but no one has been charged in her killing and lawyers for the attorney general said this week they don’t want to harm the police investigation by disclosing sensitive information in the civil case.

Provincial police witnesses testified on Monday that Bettez remains a suspect, but his lawyer said he is innocent and looks forward to testifying at an eventual civil trial.

The hearing this week is to determine what police documents Bettez can access as his lawyer prepares the case, but government lawyers wanted it held behind closed doors.

Justice Gregory Moore ruled today the hearing will be held in public and the court will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to protect sensitive information with a publication ban or by temporarily moving behind closed doors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2024.

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