Trial for threats and harassment: a post-mortem statement inadmissible in evidence

Despite three statements to the police and a letter found on his person after his suicide saying that he was the victim of threats because he was unable to repay a usurious loan of $11,000 for which he had to repay $550 in interest only, an alleged lender independent may well avoid the charges of threats and harassment against him.

Trial for threats and harassment: a post-mortem statement inadmissible in evidence

Despite three statements to the police and a letter found on his person after his suicide saying that he was the victim of threats because he was unable to repay a usurious loan of $11,000 for which he had to repay $550 in interest only, an alleged lender independent may well avoid the charges of threats and harassment against him.

In June 2018, Roberto Roussel, a CNESST annuitant had borrowed $11,000 from a money lender in order to renovate his kitchen. The agreement stipulated that he had to repay $550 every 7th of the month.

Mr. Roussel, who suffered from a mental health problem, repaid his due every month until he realized that the $550 only covered the interest and not the capital of $11,000. In March 2019, after a late payment, Mr. Roussel was allegedly threatened by the lender as well as by a large man during an appointment in the parking lot of a gym.

A few days later, the complainant then went to the police station to make a first denunciation. In total, the latter will meet the police three times.

Suicide

In August 2020, Roberto Roussel will be found dead at the age of 50. Two post-suicide letters are found in which he notably indicates “Before being killed by threats, I prefer to die”.

Denis Marcoux will eventually be arrested to face charges of threats and harassment. However, Judge Rena Émond considered that the complainant's statements were hearsay which could not be subjected to cross-examination by the defence.

The complainant's statements were also not corroborated by other evidence and therefore were inadmissible in evidence.

The defense lawyer, Me Didier Samson, believes that the Crown has no more evidence to offer and wanted an immediate stay of proceedings, but the crown has decided to take note of the judge's decision and will indicate what she intends to do with the case in two weeks.

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