Evidence wraps up at sex assault trial of Quebec TV star Eric Salvail

·2 min read

MONTREAL — The Crown rested its case Monday at the sexual assault trial of former Quebec television star Eric Salvail, with final arguments to be heard later this week.

Prosecutors were expected to present three rebuttal witnesses who claim to have been victims of inappropriate touching, exhibitionism or repeated sexual comments from Salvail.

Instead, prosecutor Amelie Rivard told the judge that audio from police interviews of the three witnesses would be filed, with Salvail's lawyer agreeing to waive the right to cross-examine them.

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

Duguay, who has agreed to be identified publicly, alleges he was assaulted in a bathroom of Radio-Canada's Montreal headquarters.

Salvail, 51, denied all the allegations against him during testimony at his trial, referring to the details of the alleged infractions as far-fetched. He said he was no longer working at the public broadcaster's Montreal headquarters when the alleged incident occurred.

The trial began in February and spanned a total of four days. The rebuttal evidence was intended to counter the testimony of the accused, who said he is not the type of person to commit the acts alleged by Duguay.

The three former male work colleagues, whose identities are covered by a publication ban, met with police in March 2020 and recorded interviews that were filed in court.

One of them recounted that Salvail approached him from behind in an empty office and put his hands down the witness's pants, touching his testicles.

“It was intense,” he told investigators, adding that he pushed Salvail off and headed for an elevator, but Salvail allegedly followed him and lowered his pants and revealed himself to the witness.

Another witness alleged that he was subjected to sexually charged comments from his first meeting with Salvail. He said he was annoyed by the behaviour but then one day it went too far, and Salvail allegedly approached him from behind and rubbed himself against him.

"It was too much for me," said the man, adding that he pushed Salvail away. "He crossed the line."

Quebec court Judge Alexandre Dalmau will hear final arguments in the case beginning on Wednesday. Salvail isn't expected in court this week and will watch the proceedings by video link instead.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2020.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press