MONTREAL — The Quebec judicial council will examine a complaint regarding a judge who granted a conditional discharge to a young engineer who pleaded guilty to sexual assault and voyeurism stemming from a 2019 event.
Quebec court Judge Matthieu Poliquin's June decision to grant Simon Houle probation and a conditional discharge, in part because a conviction would have made it hard for him to travel for his job as an engineer, has caused an uproar in the province.
The judicial council sent a letter to the author of a petition demanding Poliquin be removed from the bench, a copy of which was shared with The Canadian Press.
The council acknowledged receipt of the complaint and confirms that according to procedure, the members of the council will discuss it at a future meeting.
The note added that, initially, the members of the council will examine if the alleged facts in the case have constituted a breach of the judiciary's code of ethics and whether there's reason to investigate further.
A spokesperson for the council refused to confirm the review as complaints are confidential.
The council is next expected to meet at the end of August when a decision will be made.
Kareen Emery, who posted the petition on July 7, collected more than 4,600 signatures in about a week. She said she's satisfied that an assessment by the council will take place.
Houle pleaded guilty to sexual assault and voyeurism after assaulting an acquaintance and taking photos as she slept in 2019.
Poliquin, a judge in Trois-Rivières, Que., appointed to the bench last year, found that the victim suffered significant harm as a result of the assault, including anger, shame, fear of seeing the accused and consequences for her work and personal life.
However, he noted that the assault happened quickly, adding that Houle was a person with good morals who has taken therapy seriously and could become a useful person in his community.
Quebec's Crown prosecutors office has said it will appeal the judge's sentence.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2022.
The Canadian Press