'Cruel and inhuman': Former Quebec deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau blasts court delays
Former Quebec deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau walks to a courtroom on Thursday, June 9, 2016 in Quebec City. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)
MONTREAL -- Nathalie Normandeau, a former Quebec Liberal MNA and deputy premier under Jean Charest, issued a scathing statement Thursday taking aim at delays in Quebec's justice system that she says have left her reputation in tatters.
Normandeau announced she is filing for a stay of proceedings, citing the Supreme Court's landmark Jordan ruling regarding unreasonable court delays. She said she had not wanted to take that step but felt she had to due to "lengthening delays and unnecessarily complex procedures."
Normandeau is facing trial on three corruption-related charges, including breach of trust and municipal corruption. (Earlier this year, crown prosecutors withdrew five charges of fraud, corruption and conspiracy against Normandeau.)
"3 years, 9 months and 27 days have passed since my arrest," Normandeau wrote. "Throughout these 1390 days, I carry the unbearable weight of the charges laid and my trial takes place in the public square when it should be held in a court room."
Normandeau said that despite cooperating fully with the justice system during the process, she has yet to be given a trial date, and she does not expect one until late 2020.
"I have nothing to hide. I have always claimed my innocence. I always wanted a trial," Normandeau wrote. "The delays I endure are cruel and inhuman. The legal journey in which I am trapped places me in an untenable personal and professional situation. At 51, I have to make a living."
A case-management hearing regarding Normandeau's latest request for a stay of proceedings will take place Monday in Quebec court. It's the second time Normandeau has sought a stay of proceedings; her request in 2017 was denied.
Normandeau said she will be making no comments on her case other than the statement issued Thursday.
Normandeau, 51, was a longtime Liberal MNA and cabinet minister and was deputy premier under Jean Charest from 2007 and 2011. In 2016 she was arrested by UPAC, Quebec's anti-corruption squad, and arraigned on several charges related to illegal campaign financing.