Preliminary hearing waived for ex-cop Benoit Roberge
Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014 8:55AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7:14PM EST
MONTREAL- The preliminary three-day investigation of former high-ranking Montreal police officer Benoit Roberge will go straight to trial, without a preliminary inquiry.
Roberge, who is accused of selling sensitive information to the Hells Angels, was set to begin a preliminary inquiry Wednesday morning.
Judge Robert Marchi booked three days of hearings for evidence to be presented against Roberge, ongoing until Friday, to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to merit a trial against the former expert on biker gangs.
Instead, defence lawyer Richard Perras said his client decided to waive his right to the inquiry.
The former police officer and gang expert faces four charges: obstruction of justice, breach of trust and two charges of gangsterism.
Roberge will not face a jury trial, explained Jean-Pascal Boucher of the Crown prosecutor’s office Wednesday morning.
“He asked to be judged by a judge alone. So that request was granted by the judge and he will be judged by a judge alone and now we will have to be ready for a trial that will be coming soon, we hope,” said Boucher.
"We were ready to proceed this morning but it's the privilege of the accused to decide if he wants to waive this important step," he said.
Roberge retired from the police force last August and had taken up a position at Revenue Quebec, where he was fired after his arrest.
He has been detained since October and has opted not to exercise his right to a parole hearing at the moment.
The next court date is set for March 13, where some legal questions will be debated.
There is no date yet for the trial itself, but reports suggest that he will request to be tried by judge rather than jury.
Roberge was arrested after a biker escaped from a Laval prison and killed himself, allegedly leaving incriminating evidence behind.
Roberge had previously helped put many Hells Angels leaders behind bars.
With files from La Presse Canadienne