The founding father of the world-famous Only for Laughs comedy pageant has been acquitted of costs of rape and indecent assault in a Montreal courtroom.
Gilbert Rozon, 66, was charged in December 2018 in relation to acts allegedly dedicated in 1980 in Saint-Sauveur, Que. when he was 25 years previous. His trial befell in entrance of a choose alone, again in October.
A girl instructed the trial that the leisure mogul had raped her within the ski-resort city north of Montreal.
Quebec Courtroom Decide Mélanie Hébert lifted the publication ban on the girl’s identification, at her request. Her title is Annick Charette, 60.
Whereas studying her ruling Tuesday, Hébert mentioned she discovered Charette’s testimony clear and that the defence supplied no proof her testimony may have been influenced by others.
However Hébert additionally famous that on many factors Rozon’s testimony was constant.
She mentioned each Rozon and Charette’s testimonies had been credible, however that the prosecution was unable to show guilt past an affordable doubt.
Charette spoke to reporters after the ruling, saying she was deeply upset. She mentioned the choice proved the justice system is flawed with regards to sexual assault instances.
“The encouraging winds of change which might be being felt in our society are sadly not but mirrored in a sufferer’s journey by means of the justice system,” Charette mentioned in her assertion.
“This technique units excessive expectation for a way the sufferer performs all through the method, and particularly by means of their first testimony … Whereas I’m grateful for the investigators and prosecutors who’ve accompanied me all through this campaign, this course of has been like a storm, reviving the trauma I skilled and a powerful sense of powerlessness.”
Nonetheless, she mentioned she needed to encourage victims to return ahead within the hopes that system will change as they do.
“Don’t be ashamed,” Charette mentioned. “The guilt you’re feeling will not be yours.”
Rozon left the Montreal courthouse with out commenting.
In the course of the trial, a number of girl stood outdoors the courtroom in protest, sporting masks bearing the hashtag #MeToo, in reference to the worldwide motion to denounce sexual assault.
Charette instructed the courtroom she met Rozon in 1980 — three years earlier than he launched his comedy pageant — when he got here to the radio station the place she labored to file publicity spots.
She mentioned he invited her out to a membership after work. Afterward, Rozon mentioned he was drained and refused to drive her residence, she mentioned. He confirmed her to a room the place she may sleep.
Charette mentioned the following factor she remembered was waking up with Rozon on high of her, “decided.”
She mentioned she did not bear in mind all the main points of what adopted, however she mentioned she remembers looking a window to the proper of the mattress whereas it occurred.
Rozon testified that it was Charette who had initiated the encounter.
Rozon’s costs mirror those who had been on the books in 1980; “rape” has since been changed by sexual assault within the present model of the Legal Code.
The Crown prosecutor’s workplace evaluated 14 complaints in opposition to Rozon courting again to roughly the identical interval, however solely moved ahead with two.