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Alain Andre

Falsely accused; exonerated and civil suit settled

Quebec appealed this case to the Supreme Court of Canada. July 10, 2003, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal. Andre's award, and the reasons for upholding it have now become law. See also Gordon Folland

Alain and Lorraine André

Alain emailed injusticebusters to thank us for having the story posted. I wrote back and asked him for an update and a picture. The response from Alain and Lorraine:

Hi Sheila

Our ordeal ended on February 13th 2004, Lorraine's birthday, when we received the check from the city of Montreal which, as the employer, had to pay for the Police officers that were found negligent in my case.

In the last few months, we took the time to breathe a little. We got involved in our house renovations and went back to our day to day routine. You see, the most important thing in such an event, is for the "couple" to survive! And we did wonderfully well on that level. A lot of them can not and do not survive, unfortunately.

As a lawyer and College law professor to future Police officers (sic), I regularly get some calls from desperate people that are caught in the judicial process. Once found innocent by the criminal court, these people would like to see justice done and take a civil action in damages for all the trouble they went through. Unfortunately, 99% of these people can not afford the legal expenses. I was fortunate enough on that level!

However, I do try to help these people and do succeed in some cases. For instance, in one case, the 6 months prescription to take a civil action against a Montreal city police officer was pushed back by the Appeal Court of Quebec to the normal 3 years prescription!

Again, not later than yesterday, someone who had been falsely accused and found innocent after having spent 3 months in jail, was referred to me by a confrère, to sue the Police department. Again, he can not afford the amounts of money necessary to get the civil action rolling, to make the proper investigations, to organize the legal research etc...

To put it briefly, me and Lorraine got out of this ordeal in good physical and mental health and are willing and happy to do more in order to counter act the negligence of some crown prosecutors and police officers!

In closing, I would like to know more about "injustice busters" and maybe, in a small way, be of some resource to you people and especially to anyone in and around Montreal.

Keep up the good work.

Alain & Lorraine

Alain André: update on crown/police appeal

March 1, 2003: Recent judgement re case of Alain André falsely accused of incest as a result of Recovered Memory Therapy.

CBS regional (Montreal) news this morning reported that the court of appeal has upheld the decision to award Alain André and his wife compensation. In 1999 the Superior Court decision awarded them the sum of $326,000, condemning both the police and the crown prosecutor.

However the police and crown prosecutor appealed this decision. This week, Thursday, Feb.27, the Court of Appeal upheld the condemnation against the Montreal Urbain Community (responsible for the police) for a faulty investigation, but pardoned the prosecutor, referring to the changes in the law since 2001.

The Court of Appeal cited the prosecutor for negligence and lack of prudence, but said that she did not intentionally act out of malice. The police themselves must now pay the full sum of $650,000 ( interest and court costs added onto the original sum of $326,000).

The article is reported in two french language newspapers in Montreal, today, Saturday, March 1, 2003.

La Presse, section Actualités, page A4, Affaire Alain André, La police fustigée, by Christiane Desjardins.

Le Journal de Montréal, section Nouvelles, page 19, La police devra payer 650,000$ à Alain André, by Pierre Richard.

Eight months after his arrest in 1994, the crown did drop his case just before the preliminary hearing when she realized that the case was weak. Prior to the preliminary hearing, at Alain's insistence, his two lawyers presented the crown with forty witness statements, on his behalf, submitted by family, friends, teachers, etc., which contradicted the accusations of the accuser.

Prosecutor, policeman fined for councillor's wrongful arrest $366,800 plus interest

MONTREAL - Montreal police and prosecutors have to pay $366,800 plus interest to a former councillor for wrongfully arresting him on sexual-assault charges.

In awarding the damages to Alain Andre and his wife, Superior Court Justice Luc Lefebvre sharply criticized a police investigator and a Crown prosecutor for basing their case solely on the statements of Mr. Andre's adopted daughter, who was described as having psychological problems.

"The nightmare has finally ended," said Mr. Andre, 59, a former mayoral candidate. "The reason I fought my case is that you can't accuse someone without a minimum of proof."

Mr. Andre was opposition leader at city hall in 1994 when his adopted 25-year-old daughter told police he had beaten and raped her when she was a child.

He was arrested at home and held in a jail cell until he was released on bail the same day. The charges were dropped by prosecutors before the preliminary inquiry stage, after Mr. Andre's lawyers gave prosecutors 40 affidavits from people who refuted his daughter's accusations.

Judge Lefebvre awarded Mr. Andre and his wife, Lorraine Drouin, $366,800. With interest, the final figure will be close to $500,000.

Lawyers involved in the case said the decision could have far-reaching consequences on sexual-assault cases, because Judge Lefebvre ruled that police need more than just an alleged victim's version of events.

Since sexual-assault cases often come down to the alleged victim's words against the person he or she is accusing, that need for extra proof could make police reluctant to lay charges for fear of lawsuits, the lawyers said -- especially in cases where the assault is alleged to have taken place years before.

Judge Lefebvre ruled that investigator Raoul Lacombe of Montreal police didn't seek corroborating proof, even though he was urged to do so by his boss.

"The court is of the opinion that Lacombe didn't undertake a serious investigation before the arrest," the judge wrote.

The judge faults the police investigator for not talking to schoolmates, relatives, neighbours, doctors, nurses and psychologists who treated the daughter.

And the judge also criticizes the prosecutor in the case, Ghislaine Larrivee.

"The court is of the opinion that the prosecutor, Mme. Larrivee, acted recklessly in basing her case only on [the woman's] statements."

The judge said the prosecutor destroyed the life of a man on so little proof.

The judge mentions that Mr. Andre had to leave his job during the criminal case.

The judgment also blames Mr. Andre's adopted daughter. She never showed up for the civil trial last winter, and she has not been heard from for years.