According to what Radio-Canada has learned, the Deputy Chief Prosecutor of Trois-Rivières and Bâtonnière of the Barreau de la Mauricie, Me Catherine roberge, went to her workplace on January 5, even though her mandatory quarantine was not over, after a trip to the South.
“We intervened that day with the direction of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) to denounce this situation which, in our opinion, put all the employees of the Trois-Rivières office at risk”, confirms Guillaume Michaud, the president of the Association of Criminal and Penal Prosecutors of Quebec.
The majority of the employees of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) telework. The few prosecutors, technicians and secretaries who were on site received the order within the next hour to evacuate the premises while a specialized team carried out the complete disinfection of the offices.
Our team spoke with Me Catherine Roberge, who asked that the exchange remain confidential. She preferred to decline our interview request and let the DPCP communications team handle the matter.
“The DPCP has been informed that one of its prosecutors has violated certain rules relating to quarantine. Immediately informed, the DPCP quickly took measures to protect the health and safety of its employees and, as the responsible employer, intervened with the prosecutor concerned and took the appropriate actions in such circumstances. The DPCP reiterates that health rules must be followed by everyone, at all times. “
Unacceptable, according to the Association of Criminal and Penal Prosecutors
It is impossible for the moment to know how much the decontamination of the premises cost. Claiming that it is a working relationship, the spokesperson for the organization also refused to confirm whether disciplinary measures have been taken against the prosecutor.
Catherine Roberge is one of the managers of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) team. She is also the Bâtonnière of Mauricie. The function of the Bâtonnier is to exercise general supervisory rights over the affairs of the Barreau du Québec.
The press attaché of the Minister of Justice, Elisabeth Gosselin, explains that the Quebec government is mobilized to curb the spread of the virus, but did not want to comment specifically on the case of Me Roberge.
“The health rules apply to all Quebecers. Health and safety are a priority. We ask all citizens to be vigilant and to respect the instructions issued by public health. “
The Contraventions Act provides for fines ranging from $ 275 to $ 1,000 for anyone breaking their quarantine. In the event that someone dies of COVID-19 after having been in contact with someone who should be in quarantine, the law provides that the offender is liable to a prison sentence of up to three years.
Fortunately, no one has contracted COVID-19 in this case.
“We react very badly. The Association of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions Prosecutors finds that this is an unjustifiable and unacceptable situation, ”says association president Guillaume Michaud.
“The Deputy Chief Prosecutor is above all a citizen who must respect the rules like everyone else, but she is also a judicial officer,” he continues. She must be even more a model than any citizen. In our opinion, his actions put all the employees of the Trois-Rivières office at risk. She took the risk of infecting all her colleagues and the association cannot help but condemn this decision. “
The President of the Barreau du Québec, Me Paul-Matthieu Grondin, declined our interview request.
However, the Barreau du Québec recalls that it strongly encourages lawyers to follow the recommendations of public health and the rules of decrees through various communications.