Trial begins in Montreal for man accused of harassing Eugenie Bouchard's sister
MONTREAL -- Verdun’s Danny Arsenault admits he likes Instagram star Charlotte Bouchard, the younger sister of tennis star Eugenie Bouchard.
He's accused of publishing at least 1,800 messages on her instagram account and deleting thousands more.
Some were innocent comments, while many were sexual in nature or downright vulgar.
Some of those messages were heard in a Montreal courtroom Tuesday from a police officer who investigated the harassment.
“I’d like our relationship to take hold,” one of the messages read. Another stated, “I want to manage your life,” and “I want to pin you in the ass.”
“I didn’t feel safe in Montreal,” Bouchard testified via videoconference from London.
“I had no idea what he looked like, and that’s what scared me. I feared for my safety.”
Arsenault's trial begain Tuesday as he faces charges of criminal harassment. He has pleaded not guilty in what prosecutors say could be a landmark case.
“We will have a decision, a judge saying that when you've been blocked 40 to 50 times and you continue and you open a new account, you do commit a criminal offence,” said prosecutor Charles Doucet Tuesday outside of court.
The case law in Canada is still relatively new when it comes to social media, and the courts have yet to settle where to draw the line between obnoxious and criminal behaviour on the Internet.
But Arsenault, who is defending himself, sees things differently.
He has a history of mental health problems and was advised by the court earlier in the case to seek professional help.
He admits that some of his messages were vulgar, but were tempered by soft, loving comments.
Bouchard, who has more than 96,000 followers on Instagram, would systematically block Arsenault at first, but he would simply re-appear under another online alias.
Arsenault also testified he doesn’t know everything about social media, but noted he often gets blocked by public figures -- something he said he fails to understand.
“People who block others are simply selfish,” he said in court.
Bouchard and her father kept track to build a case for police leading up to Arsenault's arrest two years ago.
"She voluntarily opens the door, it's impossible she could be afraid of me. She turned this into a psychosis," he said.
"Bouchard utilizes the justice system to help her notoriety."
The prosecution objected to Arsnault’s defence, calling it an example of victim-shaming.
“In his closing arguments, he admitted that he was behind all these messages and clearly doesn't know the law, but it is not an excuse to do such a thing,” said Doucet outside court.
Justice Sylvie Kovacevich will render her verdict in late June.
As for Bouchard, she's now left Montreal to pursue a career in fashion in London.