Gilbert Rozon’s trial begins in Montreal

Gilbert Rozon resigned as president from Just For Laughs in October 2018 after sexual misconduct allegations. Global News

Just for Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon’s criminal trial for rape and indecent assault of a woman got underway Tuesday.

The proceedings must last at least four days and will take place at Montreal’s Palais de Justice before only a judge, with no jury present.

The charges were raised against Rozon in December 2018 for an incident involving a woman that allegedly took place in 1979 in Saint-Sauveur, Que. Rozon was 25 at the time.

Read more: Court of Appeal dismisses class action against Gilbert Rozon brought by women claiming abuse

The crime of “rape” no longer exists by that name in Canada’s criminal code — it is now referred to as “sexual assault,” but the charges were laid under the criminal code in force at the time.

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The identity of the woman involved in the incident has been protected, but she is expected to testify.

On the day the charges against him were first laid nearly two years ago, Rozon said in an email statement, “I learned this morning that charges were laid against me concerning an alleged case dating back almost 40 years old. I will continue to defend myself in court and I reserve any comments for the moment.”

— With files from the Canadian Press’s French-language service