Rozon Saga: Criminal and Civil

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Gilbert Rozon has already faced a criminal trial and a class action lawsuit. Now, Patricia Tulasna has filed a new lawsuit against him. What’s the difference between all these trials?

Making a criminal complaint

During a criminal trial, the government prosecutes the accused who is presumed innocent. The prosecution must show that the accused is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This means that the judge or jury must be convinced that it is likely, and even almost certainly, that the accused committed the crime. We have created an infographic to illustrate!

If the judge or jury convicts the accused, there are several possible punishments: community work, a fine, or even prison.

Asking for damages

A lawsuit is a way to settle disputes between individuals. For example, a person (the plaintiff) can ask a judge to holdanother person (the defendant) responsible for an injury the plaintiff suffered.

A lawsuit can also be brought by many plaintiffs together (a class-action lawsuit). A class-action must be authorized by a judge, who will make sure that the plaintiffs’ claims are similar enough to be grouped together.

Plaintiffs, alone or together, must prove that their claim is more likely true than not. In other words, a judge in a civil trial will generally believe the most credible party. This is called the “balance of probabilities”.

A judge can order the responsible party to pay damages to the injured party.

What about Gilbert Rozon?

The police received 14 complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault against Gilbert Rozon. Annick Charette’s complaint was the one to result in a criminal trial. Mr. Rozon was acquitted last December. Judge Mélanie Hébert said in her judgement that the government did not meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. She also wrote that this did not mean she did not believe the victim.

At the same time, a group called the “Courageuses” (brave women) sought approval for a class-action lawsuit against Mr. Rozon. The Superior Court of Quebec authorized the class-action but was overturned by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case. This means that there will be no class-action.

Patricia Tulasne’s case has yet to be heard by a judge.