Trial of former Nunavik police officer wraps up in Salluit
Mathieu Paré faces two charges of assault linked to a 2019 incident when a detainee was injured
A Quebec judge is expected to render a decision this fall after the trial of a former Nunavik police officer accused of slamming the brakes of his police car to injure a man in the backseat, then asking his partner to lie about what happened in her police report.
Mathieu Paré faces charges of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm linked to the 2019 incident in Salluit, which happened while he was on duty as a Nunavik Police Service officer.
He also faces charges of obstructing justice and counselling someone to commit a criminal act following the same incident.
Nunatsiaq News followed Paré’s trial by videoconference from Salluit May 19 to 21.
Quebec Justice Jean-Pierre Gervais heard testimony from Joanasie Angutigirk, the man who was arrested on May 7, 2019, during a domestic violence incident at a home in Salluit.
Angutigirk testified that Paré arrested him that night and put him in the back of his police vehicle. On the drive back to the police detachment, Angutigirk said Paré was speeding and when the officer pressed on the brake, it caused Angutigirk to hit his head on the side of the vehicle.
Officers took Angutigirk to the local health centre, where he received eight stitches across his head, the court heard.
Paré’s partner, Cst. Camille Du Sablon, was in the passenger seat that night. She testified that she was turned around towards Angutigirk in the back seat to read him his rights at the moment when Paré hit the brakes.
Du Sablon also testified that Paré later asked her to write in the police report that the reason he braked so hard was because there were children at the side of the road he was trying to avoid. She said she couldn’t see this because she was turned around.
Du Sablon testified that she declined to include those details in her police report. Instead, she reported her partner’s actions — which provide the basis of the counselling charge — to her superior.
Another witness, a Salluit resident, testified he saw Paré driving well over the speed limit that night, and that there were no children in sight when the officer hit the brakes on his vehicle.
In his final submission to the court, Crown prosecutor Jonathan Tondreau Lord asked the judge to acquit Paré of the obstruction of justice charge.
The Crown initially contended that Paré had given false information in his written report of the incident, but that evidence was never submitted to the court. It is unclear why.
Justice Gervais did not say whether he plans to throw out the obstruction charge, but according to Lord, he will deliberate on the two assault charges and the charge of counselling someone to commit a criminal act.
Paré attended but did not testify at the three-day trial in Salluit.
His defence lawyer, Ariane Bergeron St.Onge, argued in her final submission that there was no reasonable evidence to show Paré hit the brakes in a dangerous or irresponsible manner.
On July 7, Justice Gervais will set a date to render his decision when the travelling court returns to Salluit.