Robert Miller requests stay of proceedings in sex crime case due to health concerns

Montreal billionaire Robert Miller, who allegedly paid several young girls in exchange for sexual favours, was arrested last week and faces 21 sex-related charges. (Forbes/Lumisculpt/Asbed - image credit)
Montreal billionaire Robert Miller, who allegedly paid several young girls in exchange for sexual favours, was arrested last week and faces 21 sex-related charges. (Forbes/Lumisculpt/Asbed - image credit)

Lawyers for Robert Miller, the Montreal billionaire charged last week with sexual assault and exploitation of 10 women and girls, are seeking to have all the charges against him stayed.

In a request filed in Quebec Superior Court Monday, Miller's lawyers said the 80-year-old suffers from a host of different medical conditions, including late-stage Parkinson's disease that has left him in "extremely frail condition, bedridden and under 24/7 care."

They say going ahead with the judicial process given his state of health violates his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"The applicant is not capable of participating in a criminal trial, as this would cause significant harm to his health. He is not and will never be able to defend himself," his lawyers Isabella Teolis and Nicholas St-Jacques said.

Miller, the former owner of Future Electronics, a Montreal-based electronic parts distributor, was arrested at his Westmount, Que., home last Thursday.

The charges are the culmination of a year-long police investigation, which was triggered by a CBC/Radio-Canada investigation that aired in February 2023.

According to the charges against him, Miller paid several young girls in exchange for sexual favours between 1994 and 2016. He faces 21 charges, including sexual assault, obtaining sexual services for consideration and several counts of sexual exploitation of minors.

On Tuesday, police arrested a 67-year-old woman who they say was an accomplice to Miller. Teresita Fuentes was charged with procuring sexual services in connection with one of Miller's alleged victims.

Unable to move, feed, bathe himself

Miller's lawyers say the billionaire was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1996 and his condition has seriously deteriorated over the years.

The motion for the stay of proceedings includes reports from Miller's doctors, who say he has been bedridden since May 2022 and requires 24/7 care for his basic bodily needs, including hygiene, feeding and using the bathroom.

The motion cites Miller's family doctor, Dr. John Hughes, who said his patient suffers from bedsores due to his inability to move.

"The applicant requires assistance to roll in bed from one side to the other every hour," said Hughes.

Hughes says Miller's medication must be administered every hour and a half.

"Without his medication, the applicant becomes totally immobile and unable to initiate movement. Every morning, since no medication is administered overnight, it takes the applicant between two to three hours to reactivate," he said.

Hughes concludes Miller is medically unfit "to engage in testimony, deposition or travel."

The motion also cites neurologist Dr. Theodore Wein, who evaluated Miller several times up until last month. He concluded that being in court poses serious risks given Miller's fragile condition.

Wein is cited listing the necessary adaptations required in the courthouse should Miller be required to appear in person, including: a hospital bed, wedge pillows for support, a blood pressure machine, an oxygen saturation machine readily available at all times as well as his full health-care team to provide support for all bodily functions and feeding.

"As he is incontinent of stool and urine, he will need his health-care team to clean and change him in the courtroom," Wein said.

He added if Miller were forced to be present in court, the proceedings would need to be stopped every 90 minutes so he could take his medication.

Wein said being in court would put Miller at "high risk of exacerbating any of the many medical complications … that may lead to a major or fatal outcome."

Right to be present at trial

In February, a Quebec judge overseeing a proposed class-action suit against Miller ruled that he can be questioned before the case is authorized — but only in writing, saying an oral examination risks putting Miller's life in danger because of the strain it could cause him.

Miller's lawyers argue the standard for criminal trials is higher and, according to the Criminal Code, must take place in the presence of the accused.

"The accused has the fundamental right to fully participate in the proceedings," Teolis and St-Jacques said, adding it's "both a right and a duty."

"To hold a trial in the absence of the accused or where their life would be seriously endangered, or to hold a trial in which the accused cannot testify, would cause serious and irremediable damage to the rights of the accused and to the integrity of the justice system," they conclude.

Miller's lawyers say the only remedy is to stay the charges against him.

Prosecutors haven't yet had the chance to argue against the request. The case is due back in court Friday at 9:30 a.m.