Sexual assault trial concludes for Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, ex-vaccine campaign chief


Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the previous head of the federal authorities’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, now awaits his destiny
after closing arguments in his sexual assault trial concluded Tuesday in Gatineau, Que.

Fortin, who has maintained his innocence, should wait till early December earlier than a choice is rendered by a civilian choose.

The complainant within the case testified final month that she awakened one evening in her dorm room to discover a man masturbating himself utilizing one in every of her fingers whereas one other hand was on her breast.

Her identify and particulars that might establish her are protected underneath a publication ban.

She advised the courtroom that she is definite “no doubt” that the perpetrator was Fortin, with whom she was attending army faculty on the time in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

In a closing assertion Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Diane Legault argued that there isn’t a cause to consider the complainant within the case would have forgotten or turn into mistaken concerning the identification of her aggressor within the years because the 1988 incident.

She identified that Fortin was capable of establish names and faces with certainty when taking a look at previous yearbook photographs from army faculty throughout his testimony on Monday.

“It’s not as if she determined 34 years later that it was this individual as a result of she noticed him on tv,” Legault mentioned in French, calling again to Fortin’s testimony concerning the variety of press conferences that he was attending in early 2021.

“That day, she knew immediately that it was Mr. Fortin. There’s no cause for that to have modified over time.”

Questioning defence claims

Legault additionally questioned the defence’s assertion that anyone may have dedicated the assault, noting that the black-and-white images made male college students resemble each other however that color photographs from the period confirmed extra variation of their look.

Legault mentioned the girl waited to deliver ahead a grievance due to a “boys’ membership” mentality within the army.

The complainant testified that she was conscious of how such complaints have been dealt with by the Armed Forces on the time, and that information deterred her from wanting anybody to know what occurred.

It was solely after she had retired and now not feared profession repercussions that she introduced the incident ahead in 2021, the prosecutor mentioned.

On Monday, Fortin’s defence lawyer, Isabel Schurman, requested the choose for an acquittal. She mentioned the complainant’s testimony lacked credibility and different witnesses didn’t shore up a few of the particulars of her story.

A key level for the defence was that whereas the complainant mentioned she advised her ex-boyfriend concerning the incident instantly afterward, he advised the courtroom that he had no recollection of such a dialog.

In her closing argument, Schurman additionally identified a number of inconsistencies between the complainant’s testimony on the stand in September and her earlier statements to investigators final 12 months.

The inconsistencies included particulars of the assault itself, Schurman mentioned, together with whether or not the assailant had touched her genitalia and whether or not he had spoken through the incident.

But Legault countered on Tuesday that the witness remained steadfast on three factors — that the attacker positioned her hand on his penis, that the act was not consensual and that she acknowledged him as Fortin.

Legault mentioned that though Fortin denied having dedicated the crime, nothing else in his testimony particularly contradicted what the complainant mentioned concerning the extent to which the 2 knew one another, the campus of the army faculty or the setup of the barracks the place the scholars slept.

Decision anticipated Dec. 5

And she mentioned the defence had not produced any proof to recommend that the complainant had a cause to lie about what occurred to her or who did it.

Schurman rebutted that time on Tuesday, saying that figuring out the complainant’s motivations will not be a part of the burden positioned on the defence, and it inappropriately displaces the presumption of innocence away from the accused.

There isn’t any jury within the trial. Judge Richard Meredith is anticipated to render a choice on Dec. 5.

Fortin, who was faraway from his place answerable for the COVID-19 vaccine campaign in May 2021 throughout an investigation of the allegation, is individually difficult that dismissal in Federal Court.


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