Crown tells sex assault trial Eric Salvail's testimony 'implausible and incoherent'

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MONTREAL — Eric Salvail's testimony was "implausible and incoherent" and should be rejected entirely, the Crown said Thursday, as closing arguments at the ex-TV host's sex assault trial wrapped up in Montreal.

"You should not retain anything from what he said," prosecutor Amelie Rivard told Quebec court Judge Alexandre Dalmau, adding that Salvail lied to give himself a false positive image. Dalmau said he will deliver a verdict Dec. 18.

Salvail, 51, is on trial for sexual assault, harassment and unlawful confinement in connection with events alleged to have occurred between April and October 1993 involving former co-worker Donald Duguay, who has agreed to be identified publicly. 

Duguay accused Salvail of months of unwanted advances and harassment, and said the ex-host confined him in a bathroom at Radio-Canada and assaulted him.

Rivard said Duguay's testimony was composed, detailed and believable. While she acknowledged some small "irregularities" in the complainant's statements, she said they only concerned peripheral elements. 

The prosecutor said three of Salvail's former colleagues gave statements to police accusing the fallen TV star of unwanted sexual touching, of making inappropriate comments and of exposing himself on one occasion. Given these accounts, Rivard said, Salvail's claim that he would never harass anyone at work "is completely non-credible."

During his closing arguments on Wednesday, Salvail's lawyer painted Duguay as the person who could not be trusted and as someone who is capable of lying, spreading falsehoods and even perjury. Michel Massicotte told Dalmau that Salvail must benefit from reasonable doubt and be acquitted. 

On the stand, Salvail denied all the accusations against him, and claimed he had stopped working at Radio-Canada several months before the alleged bathroom assault.

Rivard, however, said Salvail had still worked for another show at the network, and that he had admitted during his testimony to having returned to the building to see friends and to attend production meetings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov 12, 2020.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press