Last Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | 1:49 PM AT
There was a major twist Tuesday in the case of a former priest on trial for indecent assault in Campbellton, N.B.
The Crown asked to reopen its case against Charles Picot because his accuser now says he got his facts wrong.
The Crown’s only witness testified Monday the indecent assault occurred in the fall of 1978.
Derek Lapointe was 13 years old and in Grade 9.
Lapointe, 46, waived his right to have his name protected by a publication ban. He testified that Picot invited him to the rectory to listen to the Saturday Night Fever album.Tuesday, the Crown said Lapointe made a mistake and the offence actually happened a year earlier in 1977.
The Crown sought permission to reopen its case and change Lapointe’s testimony, but the defence objected because the accused has an alibi for the fall of 1978. Picot was a student at the University of Ottawa.
Picot’s defence lawyer said the Crown should have done its homework before laying the charges, especially since it knew Lapointe had memory problems.
Lapointe admitted under cross-examination Monday that drug and alcohol abuse had affected his memory.
The defence noted two police forces investigated the case and a simple call to the high school Lapointe attended would have settled what year he was in Grade 9.
The judge refused to allow the Crown to reopen its case.
Last spring, Picot was found not guilty on a charge of indecent assault involving a 13-year-old boy in Dalhousie.
Picot is no longer a practising priest.
This is a disgrace! How did this go to trial without investigators checking on dates? Why had the Crown not double checked?
It is a known fact that dates are a major issue at trial and the subject of intense defence scrutiny. It is also well known that our memories fail when it comes to dates – that’s all of us, not just those who have had issues with drugs and alcohol. In light of that it is imperative that dates are double checked for accuracy.
When it’s as straightforward as the victim said he was in Grade 9 the easiest thing in world to do is to get his school records to ensure that he doesn’t have his years mixed up.
This is disgusting. Such a terrible shame. In this day and age and with all that is known of sex abuse trials I don’t expect to see foul ups such as this in the courtroom. Obviously I am sadly mistaken.
i completely agree discraceful on the plaintifs attorney not to have checked with his client to make sure he had the dates correctly now Picot will probably not be charged yet again. Hopefully at his next trial they will not make the same mistakes. I am so upset again this so called coward (sorry that is how i feel about him) will probably not go to jail where he belongs. I will continue to pray that the victims of this pedophile get to see him rot in jail one day!
Justice in this case has not be restored today but the ’Life’ we call truth and justice transcends time. If Picot’s reward ‘in this life’ is freedom from recompense then he is far worse off than what he appears to be.