The evidence was 'destroyed,' say investigators involved in MNA Guy Ouellette's arrest

·4 min read
Guy Ouellette, MNA for the Chomedey riding in Laval, Que., was a target of the UPAC's Project A investigation. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Guy Ouellette, MNA for the Chomedey riding in Laval, Que., was a target of the UPAC's Project A investigation. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/Radio-Canada - image credit)

The chances of finding out who is responsible for leaking sensitive information to the media about an investigation from the province's anti-corruption unit (UPAC) and what led to the arrest of MNA Guy Ouellette four years ago appear to be murky.

That's because evidence has been destroyed, according to the people in charge of UPAC's Project A investigation.

In a 192-page joint declaration, Lt. Caroline Grenier-Lafontaine and Insp. André Boulanger — who were suspended following the arrest of the MNA for the Chomedey riding in Laval, Que. — defended their work and their integrity.

They make serious claims pertaining to a prosecutor with the Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPC), saying she had an inappropriate fixation on the former director of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), Martin Prud'homme.

Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger also questioned the honesty of other police officers.

Their allegations were communicated to Quebec's bureau of independent investigations (BEI) in 2019, which is attempting to shed light on their behaviour, the manner in which the investigation was carried out as well as the transmission of sensitive documents that occurred during the Mâchurer investigation.

The Mâchurer probe was regarding the financing of the Liberal Party of Quebec.

According to Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger, BEI investigators never met with them to get their version of events.

It's why they decided to write a declaration that was filed in Superior Court and mostly made public on Friday.

'The truth can never be known'

In June 2017, Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger, two high-ranking officers, put together a small team of investigators for Project A, which was meant to shed light on the information leak to the media.

The investigation led to Ouellette's arrest on Oct. 25, 2017. He was never charged, and In June of this year, UPAC apologized for his arrest and described as "unjustified."

In their joint declaration, Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger defended their investigation.

"The courts were never able to hear the truth about Project A. All the evidence that could have validated or invalidated the theories has been destroyed," said the two investigators.

"Now, the truth can never be known about it. Neither by you nor by anybody else […] And we will never shoulder the burden that you want us to bear for having knowingly botched, directed or hindered it."

The two investigators are asking the DCPC to lift their commitment to confidentiality "that prevents them from telling the truth regarding the information" they have.

Prosecutor was fixated on head of SQ, investigators say

The two investigators said they had a difficult relationship with Betty Laurent, the DCPC's deputy chief prosecutor, due to what they described as an inappropriate fixation on Prud'homme, the former head of the SQ.

They claimed Laurent said that she considered Prud'homme a suspect in the investigation regarding leaks to media due to several phone interactions with Ouellette.

The investigators claimed Laurent said that there was surely a rule that had been broken given Prud'homme and Ouellette's interactions with each other.

According to Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger, Laurent wanted Prud'homme to be put under wiretap surveillance, which the two investigators say they refused due to a lack of evidence to justify such an operation.

They said Laurent told them the SQ interfered several times with the Mâchurer investigation in 2016, and she held Prud'homme responsible for that.

As far as Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger were concerned, Laurent's focus on Prud'homme was so exaggerated, Boulanger advised the prosecutor's superior and a new advisor was appointed to help them.

On Friday, the DCPC issued a statement reiterating their "full confidence" in Laurent, while specifying that allegations from the suspended officers "were never challenged in court, and therefore, only represent the claims of Mr. Boulanger and Ms. Grenier-Lafontaine."

According to the DCPC, Laurent made a statement to the BEI which "refutes, clarifies or puts these allegations in context."

Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger's joint declaration also implicated colleagues who worked with them during Project A, whom they were wary of.

According to Grenier-Lafontaine and Boulanger, two sergeants may have shared sensitive information to former police officers who were suspected of being in cahoots with Ouellette.

They also question the integrity of another officer, a lieutenant-detective who, according to them, may have revealed details regarding Project A to some of their peers.

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