JOLIETTE, Que. – Sixty-year-old Raynald Desjardins is considered one of the most powerful crime figures in Quebec.
He is currently in prison, awaiting trial for the murder of a rival mob boss in 2011.
At each of Desjardins’ court hearings in Joliette, Que., security has been increased, just like on Friday.
Lawyers and spectators are checked and even frisked.
Yet Justice Marc David ruled Friday morning that the safety measures already in place were not enough.
He ruled that Desjardins’ upcoming trial will now take place in Laval.
It is slated to begin January 5, 2015 and is expected to last up to six months.
The judge took several factors into consideration for his decision, including a report put together by Quebec provincial police that claims Desjardins was planning a daring escape from a prison van.
“I don’t know who this police source is, but it’s not a good source,” said Marc Labelle, Desjardins’ defence lawyer.
Labelle called the information ridiculous.
“Every time there was a court date here in Joliette, Mr. Desjardins called us to cancel the court date,” Labelle said.
“So why would he plan an escape, when he doesn’t want to come to court?”
Raynald Desjardins is one of eight people charged in the murder of 40-year-old Salvatore Montagna.
It is believed that the two men were engaged in a turf war to take control of the Montreal Mafia.
At the time, reputed godfather Vito Rizzuto was locked up in the United States.
A number of pre-trial legal motions are expected to be presented in the coming weeks by several defence lawyers.
Jeffrey Boro, who is representing co-accused Felice Racaniello, said Friday that attorneys are trying to have the intercepted text messages thrown out.
“It’s a major part of the case,” Boro told Global News.
“Who sent the text? Whose telephone was it? Who had possession of the telephone? These are all positions that have to be proven by the crown.”
The pre-trial debates are expected to last several months.