The judiciary returned to the indictment on Monday against him The perfect victim. Bar associations and defense attorneys demanded Radio Canada remove the documentary from its programs on Tuesday night, accusing it of spreading lies and a “misleading vision of justice.” However, the Public Broadcasting Corporation denied their request.
“One can criticize the fact that some of the notes in the film do not conform strictly to reality. They may not agree with the message or the tone of the film,” said a spokesperson for the state-owned company, Mark Pechet, in an email to a task Monday.
In a letter addressed to Radio Canada’s senior management and sent to the public radio ombudsman earlier today, the presidents of four defense lawyers’ associations – notably Montreal Laval Longueuil, of Quebec and Ottawa – expressed concerns about the general public distribution of the documentary.
According to them, The perfect victimContains several lies and therefore contradicts “Journalistic Standards and Practices” From Radio Canada. The broadcaster should “avoid exposing the general public to this misguided view of justice and causing undue suffering to victims as well as potentially dissuading them from filing a complaint.”
Directed by journalists Monique Neron and Emily Perrault, this documentary lifts the veil on the obstacles that sexual assault victims face when they decide to file a complaint. In addition to giving victims a voice, journalists interview criminal lawyers, prosecutors, and judges to explain how the justice system operates in this area.
When it was shown in theaters this summer, many voices were raised from the legal community to denounce the film’s inaccuracy and express concerns about the negative effects it could have on victims.
Argument brought by the four bar associations. In their letter, they explained for example that a “simple internet search” allowed for a breach of defense attorney Patrick Davis’ assertion – questioned on camera – that he had “lost no cause for sexual assault.” “We were able to identify four published decisions in which the sexual assault charges were upheld despite allegations to the contrary by Mr.e Davis […] By allowing the misconception that lawyers can exonerate all of their clients, we validate this sense of powerlessness and, ultimately, help discourage recourse to justice for any victim of sexual assault.”
They also accuse them of broadcasting Claude F.’s comments. They no longer apply today and moreover are ‘prohibited’.
Make things change
“If her demonstrations are not flawless, this controversial film provides an opportunity for much-needed discussion in our society,” Radio Canada said to justify its broadcast.
Open to criticism, journalists Monique Neron and Emilie Berriot regret seeing that we are “trying to stop people from watching the documentary.” They argue that it does not discourage victims from filing complaints, on the contrary. “We had a lot of testimonies from people who heard the critics and went to see the movie, and they said, ‘Me, I’m awaiting trial or I was thinking of filing a complaint. […] Monique Neron says:
We have a lot of testimonies from people who heard critics and went to see the movie, and said, “I’m waiting for trial or I was thinking of filing a complaint. […] And now I feel better prepared for what lies ahead.”
Journalists also justify the questioning of Claude F. Archambault, stating that they want to take advantage of “freedom of speech” because he is no longer a lawyer. They assert that it is often requested by the media without making any waves.
As for the lies on me Journalist Davis asserts that he “sat in front of the camera in good faith” and that he “has an explanation for every case” he did not win. She gives an example: “One of them was more abuse than sexual assault, so he didn’t count it.”
“Obviously our documentary is annoying, and it’s true. That’s what it takes sometimes to make a difference.”
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