A Quebec judge’s widely criticized decision to give an engineer who pleaded guilty to sexual assault a conditional discharge was wrong, the province’s Court of Appeal said Wednesday as it instead imposed a 12-month sentence.
The court said the trial judge made errors in determining Simon Houle’s sentence on charges of sexual assault and voyeurism that diminished the gravity of the crimes and Houle’s level of responsibility.
“The crimes committed by Mr. Houle are serious. He abused the vulnerability of the victim and seriously violated her physical and sexual integrity as well as her privacy and dignity,” the three-judge Appeal Court panel wrote.
Quebec court Judge Matthieu Poliquin’s decision last June to grant 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.