Quebec judicial council rejects complaint over judge’s sexual assault ruling

People take part in a protest against a decision by judge Matthieu Poliquin in the case against a man who pleaded guilty to sexual assault and voyeurism in Montreal, Sunday, July 10, 2022. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The Quebec judicial council has rejected complaints about a judge who granted a conditional discharge to a young engineer who pleaded guilty to sexual assault and voyeurism.

Quebec court Judge Matthieu Poliquin’s June 2022 decision to grant Simon Houle probation and a conditional discharge — in part because a conviction would have made it hard for Houle to travel for his job as an engineer — caused an uproar in the province.

In a decision posted to its website last week, the council, without naming any of the particulars in the case, found that there was no breach by the judge of his ethical obligations, and the council found the complaints against him unfounded.

Read more: Hundreds rally in Montreal against judge who granted sex assault discharge

The ruling specifies that a complaint must target the conduct of the judge, adding that the three complaints filed against Poliquin related strictly to the judgment rendered.

The council says in its decision that it is not an appeal or review body and does not comment on the fairness of court decisions.

The Crown has sought leave to appeal the sentence in the Houle case, and the Court of Appeal will hear it on Dec. 9.

Read more: Quebec sexual assault discharge puts focus on ‘systemic’ issues, experts warn

Also Wednesday, the Crown announced it has charged Houle with breaching conditions from that sentence, stemming from an incident in Cuba where a Quebec woman accused him of making gestures of a sexual nature toward her.

Houle is alleged to have breached the condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour, and he will appear at the St-Jerome courthouse on Dec. 2.

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