Crown to skip preliminary hearing for Nathalie Normandeau and co-accused
Nathalie Normandeau testifies at the Charbonneau commission into corruption on Wednesday June 18, 2014
Published Friday, April 14, 2017 3:05PM EDT
Former Deputy Premier Nathalie Normandeau and her six co-defendants will not have a preliminary hearing before they go to trial.
Normandeau's lawyer Maxime Roy said he had received a letter from the Crown advising him of the decision to proceed directly to trial without a hearing to review evidence that will be presented.
Normandeau and her co-accused are facing charges of illegal political financing and rigging public contracts.
The Crown will soon inform a judge of its decision, which could be linked in part to the Jordan decision - a Supreme Court ruling that imposes a strict limit on the amount of time between someone being charged and the beginning of a trial.
On Friday, Crown spokesman Jean Pascal Boucher said he could not comment on the current court cases, and that the Crown's arguments will soon be available when they have been offered to the judge.
The preliminary hearing was scheduled to begin on June 5 and last for five weeks.
Normandeau and six others were arrested by UPAC in March 2016.
They were alleged to have been involved in an illegal political financing scheme to award public contracts, and were charged with corruption, fraud, and abuse of the public trust. They risk 14 years imprisonment, which is the maximum penalty for the charge of corruption and for fraud over $5,000.
The other accused are Marc-Yvan Coté of Roche engineering, Normandeau's former chief of staff Bruno Lortie, the former political attaché in the Charlevoix office of Pauline Marois, Ernest Murray, and the former Mayor of Gaspé François Roussy.
Two other Roche executives, former vice-president France Michaud and CEO Mario Martel, are also charged.
Roche is now known as Norda Stelo Inc.