Quebec MNA Harold LeBel returns to court in connection with sexual assault charge

Parti Québecois MNA Harold LeBel is sworn in at the national assembly in Quebec City on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press

Harold LeBel, the Independent MNA for the Rimouski riding who is facing a charge of sexual assault, is seeking a trial by jury.

This is what his defence lawyer Ariane Gagnon-Rocque told Judge Richard Côté in Quebec court on Tuesday.

The case is expected to continue April 6 and that is when a date for LeBel’s upcoming trial is expected to be scheduled, according to his lawyer.

“LeBel chooses to be tried by a tribunal composed of a judge and a jury of his peers,” Gagnon-Rocque said during the videoconference hearing, where LeBel was also present.

Read more: Independent MNA Harold LeBel to plead not guilty in sex assault trial, lawyer says

The 58-year-old man was arrested on Dec. 15, 2020 by the Sûreté du Québec. He was then removed from the Parti Québécois (PQ) caucus for the duration of the legal process.

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On Jan. 11, LeBel announced through his lawyer, Maxime Roy, his intention to plead not guilty to the charge of sexual assault.

The alleged incident dates back to 2017. The identity of the alleged victim is protected by a publication ban.

Read more: Harold LeBel removed from Parti Québécois caucus following arrest

Crown prosecutor Manon Gaudreault has said that the evidence in the case consists of three audio-video recordings, which will be transcribed for the court.

On Tuesday, she told the court that she wished to hand over to the defence documents that are currently in the possession of investigators. The documents will not be redacted.

LeBel continues to sit as an Independent MNA and has said that he will continue to serve in his riding. He recently advised the national assembly that he will not be physically sitting in the provincial legislature for the next few weeks, preferring to focus on his constituency work.

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