The former boss of the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit (UPAC) Robert Lafrenière was terrified at the idea that it would be discovered that he had spoken secretly to a journalist from La Presse to denounce the slowness of the work of the Director of Criminal Prosecutions and (DPCP).
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As part of its Oath investigation into the alleged misconduct of Lafrenière and his subordinates, the Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI) collected the testimony of Me Marie-Claude Laberge, who was a lawyer at UPAC.
Me Laberge explained to the investigators that in October 2015, Robert Lafrenière told him that he would meet La Presse journalist Denis Lessard to tell him of "his dissatisfaction with the speed of the prosecutors' work".
On October 22, 2015, the journalist did indeed publish an article entitled “Filing of charges: UPAC is getting impatient”. The journalist wrote to be informed of "a reliable source" and explained that "half a dozen investigations completed by UPAC have been dormant for several months at the DPCP office".
"Of these files, two concern the financing of the Liberal Party of Quebec, the others are a municipal responsibility or concern public contracts", continued the journalist, describing that "impatience reached a peak at UPAC before the unexplained inaction by the Crown in these delicate cases that find themselves in limbo. »
"Dead" if it was known
Three years later, after Robert Lafrenière launched an investigation to discover the author of the UPAC leaks in the media (the famous Project A), Me Laberge met Mr. Lafrenière in the latter's office. The commissioner was then accompanied by Frédérick Gaudreau, who was then associate commissioner for investigations and who today succeeded Mr. Lafrenière as big boss of UPAC.
The lawyer then reminded Robert Lafrenière of what he had confided to her years earlier about “the leak made to Denis Lessard”.
“Lafrenière said that if she spoke about it, it would be good to go and pass the mope at the National Assembly”, write the investigators of the Oath project in the documents that we consulted.
In other words, the lawyer explained that Lafrenière “was dead”, professionally, if it was revealed publicly that it was he who had spoken to Denis Lessard.
“Me Laberge specifies that to see the facial expression of Frédérick Gaudreau, he was not aware of this meeting of Lafrenière with Lessard”, also note the investigators.
The lawyer said that another time, while she was in her vehicle, the commissioner called her, asking her if she was alone, to find out if she had talked about her meeting with Denis Lessard with someone. another. She replied no.
“Controlled leak system
According to the theory of the Oath Inquiry Project, Robert Lafrenière would have "orchestrated a system of controlled leaks concerning ongoing investigations at UPAC with the aim of his renewal as Commissioner of UPAC and the creation of the UPAC as a specialized police force”.
These elements of the investigation were presented to judge André Perreault in 2020, as part of the legal proceedings which notably targeted the former ministers Nathalie Normandeau and Marc-Yvan Côté, then accused of fraud and corruption.
In September 2020, Judge Perreault ordered a stay of proceedings against the former ministers, finding that Robert Lafrenière and some of his acolytes had committed “serious misconduct” by setting up a “bogus investigation”, the project a.
The BEI Oath investigation, meanwhile, is still ongoing, and no criminal charges have been filed to date. Robert Lafrenière assured this week that he had always done his job with integrity and that he had nothing to be ashamed of.