Vaillancourt to face justice in 2019

By Robert Frank

Laval’s former mayor Gilles Vaillancourt might turn 78 before he gets his day in court.

As talks between his lawyers and prosecutors proceed, Superior Court Justice Marc David has postponed the next hearing

in the criminal corruption case against Vaillancourt.

Three of the three-dozen people whom police charged in 2013 at the same time as Vaillancourt have since died.

Engineer Robert N. Cloutier, 76, died in March 2014. He was followed to the grave by contractor Valmont Nadon, 78, in May 2015, and businessman Anthony Mergl, 82, in June 2015.

The complexity of the case, in which Vaillancourt and the 33 other accused who are still alive face corruption and organized crime charges, led defence lawyers to ask for a postponement.

It remains to be seen how the court will proceed to try such large number of defendants.

“There won’t be a trial for 34 co-defendants before a jury,” declared Judge David. “That would be nothing but a fantasy.”

Vaillancourt’s trial had, until now, been expected to commence in the September 2018.

However, the latest postponement could delay the start until 2019, six years after police arrested three-dozen municipal officials, construction contractors and engineers and alleged accomplices.

They’re accused with being involved in rigging government contracts between 1996-2010, involving various acts of fraud and conspiracy.

Some of the accused are reportedly in the midst of negotiation with prosecutors to plea-bargain for lesser charges.

Gilles Vaillancourt

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