The lawyer for the former editorialist of Le Devoir Michel Venne worked at length to undermine the credibility of the complainant, an attempt to “drown the fish”, replied the Crown during its plea.
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There was no lack of qualifiers, in defense, to describe the testimony and the actions of the complainant who accuses Michel Venne of having committed acts of sexual assault in 2008 in Quebec.
Venne’s lawyer methodically pleaded by raising the “inconsistencies” and “improbabilities” in the testimony of the alleged victim.
The 60-year-old man is accused of assault and sexual exploitation against a young woman who was 17 in 2008 while she was an intern at the Institut du Nouveau Monde which Venne headed.
First, Me Lida-Sara Nouraie states that the episode of the taxi where the accused would have placed his hand on the thigh of the complainant in the presence of his spouse simply did not take place. “Nothing happened in the taxi”, pleads the lawyer.
As for the moment when Michel Venne allegedly attacked the complainant in the street after the duo had walked together, Me Nouraie considers that the complainant made a “suspicious oversight” about the position that Mr. Venne had when placing his arm around him. her waist and between her legs.
The accused for his part claims to have placed his arm on his shoulders.
Debate on Lise Payette
The lawyer also returned to the audio recording between the complainant and Lise Payette which would have been modified by the complainant in order to “dramatize the meeting”. A situation which “poses serious problems of reliability and credibility”, according to the lawyer.
The modified recording is an “anecdotal fact”, replied the prosecutor Me Michel Bérubé, recalling that the complainant also provided the long version. The defense is trying to “drown the fish,” pleaded Me Bérubé.
The prosecutor also focused on the behavior, after the fact, of the accused, who in particular asked the former minister, now deceased, to intervene, to demonstrate that he had there “a guilty conscience” .
The accused remembers “a lot of details” for an episode qualified as “non-event”, pleaded the prosecutor speaking of a “too precise memory”.
Judge Stéphane Poulin will take his decision under advisement.