Both the Crown and the Quebec police had serious doubts about the investigation launched by the former boss of UPAC to discover the author of leaks in the media, an investigation which is now described as “bogus” by a judge of the Court of Quebec.
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Documents produced by the Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI) show how much the famous Project A, at the initiative of Robert Lafrenière, was not unanimous.
On October 30, 2017, five days after the arrest of MP Guy Ouellette, then suspected of having played a role in the leaks, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) considered that he did not have all the material relevant to this case.
“One of our mandates is to advise police services on the legal framework of an investigation. To do this properly, we need complete and transparent information. [...] I consider that this is not currently the case in the Project A case, ”wrote Me Josée Grandchamp, chief prosecutor at the Office of Serious Crime and Criminal Affairs of the DPCP, to André Boulanger, then director of operations at UPAC.
“I therefore asked Me Betty Laurent [another DPCP prosecutor] to no longer advise in the Project A investigation until a complete affidavit is submitted to us,” she continues.
We know the rest. Not only was Guy Ouellette never charged, but UPAC even had to issue an official apology to him a few years later.
Another email shows that three days before the deputy's arrest, the DPCP disagreed with the idea of seizing the deputy's cell phone.
“After analysis of the last affidavit submitted, […] we recommend that you do not submit this request [to seize the phone], writes Me Laurent to UPAC investigator Jean-Frédérick Gagnon.
Quebec police uncomfortable
A UPAC investigator, Denis Pelletier, for his part told the BEI that he had been forced to go to Quebec City in anticipation of the operation targeting Ouellette, because the director of the Service de police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ) Robert Pigeon was uncomfortable with the involvement of his troops in this aspect of the investigation.
"Robert Pigeon withdrew from anything that touched Guy Ouellet [sic], refusing any involvement of his police officers from near or far concerning the arrest of a deputy", write the investigators who questioned Mr. Pelletier.