Brazeau defence: 'We will challenge that lady' - APTN NewsAPTN News

Brazeau defence: ‘We will challenge that lady’


Suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau

By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The lawyer defending suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau in his ongoing assault and sexual assault case wants to use statements made by the alleged victim to the RCMP during a separate Senate expenses investigation to challenge her credibility, Quebec provincial court heard Friday.

Brazeau was not present for his Valentine’s Day date with the court. His defence lawyer Gerard Larocque appeared on his behalf.

Brazeau’s next court date was set for April 11 for a preparatory conference which could lead his eventual trial date.

The Algonquin Senator, who was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008, was charged last Feb. 7 after Gatineau police arrived at his rented townhouse and found him locked in an upstairs bedroom. Police received had two phone calls from a crying woman earlier that morning.

Gatineau police allege Brazeau choked and spat on the woman, his former partner, according to a court document. Police also allege he pushed her down stairs, grabbed her breasts and pulled her pants down hard enough to snap a button and break a zipper.

Larocque was trying to move the next court date to June arguing the defence was still going though disclosure and needed to obtain video and RCMP police notes of an interview Brazeau’s alleged victim gave the RCMP as part of the federal force’s fraud investigation into Senate expenses.

Brazeau, along with retired Liberal senator Mac Harb, was charged by the RCMP earlier this month with breach of trust and fraud as a result of the investigation leading to those charges.

Brazeau was suspended from the Senate late last year over his Senate expenses along with fellow, former Conservative Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin.

Larocque has already obtained an audio recording and transcript of the RCMP interview, said Quebec Crown prosecutor Sylvain Peticlerc. Petitclerc said he wasn’t aware that any video existed of the interview and said the defence was simply trying to play for time.

Brazeau’s lawyer, however, told APTN National News the video existed because of the type of interview the RCMP conducted with the alleged victim. He said if the Crown doesn’t provide the video, the RCMP will.

Larocque said the RCMP interview was pertinent to the case because it would speak to the alleged victim’s credibility.

“Come to the trial, we will be able to challenge the lady,” said Larocque.

Larocque also said that he doesn’t believe the Crown has provided him with all the disclosure yet.

Peticlerc told the court he had.

RCMP Cpl. Ben Jolette interviewed Brazeau’s alleged victim in June and July of last year as part of the Senate expense investigation, according to an Information to Obtain, filed in Ontario court by the RCMP in August.

According to the ITO, which was used by the RCMP to obtain access to Brazeau’s Bank of Nova Scotia and TD Bank accounts, the alleged victim described when and where she met Brazeau and how their relationship evolved.

She told the RCMP that in the 20 months she lived with Brazeau he never lived in Maniwaki, Que., which he had listed as a primary residence to claim housing expenses.

The alleged victim told the RCMP Brazeau was basically homeless after his last marriage broke up, alternately living with his brother in Gatineau, his administrative assistant or at an Ottawa hotel. The pair eventually moved into the Gatineau townhouse from where police received the two phone calls on the morning of Feb. 7.

Brazeau has also recently run into some financial difficulty. Last month, the Bank of Nova Scotia moved to repossess a home he co-owned with his former wife, according to a document filed with the  District Registrar of the Land Registry District of Gatineau. The bank said they owed $201, 015 of their mortgage and a separate loan, according to the document.

The house was vacated on Jan. 5, said the document, which was filed on January 27.

Larocque wouldn’t comment on whether he believed Brazeau could pay him until the end of the trial.

Brazeau, however, has managed to reconstruct his love life. His new partner, Vanessa Brisson, appeared with him on the night of Nov. 6 when he the Senate voted to suspend him.

Brisson, who works as a server at a Gatineau bar, is scheduled to appear in Quebec court on Feb. 25 to face cocaine and marijuana possession charges, according to court documents.



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