The report from the show Enquête broadcast in October 2015 on Radio-Canada Télé is at the center of this lawsuit. (Archive photo)
Also in 2016, the Sûreté du Québec announced the creation of a mixed police station in Val-d'Or, made up of indigenous and non-indigenous police officers as well as psychosocial workers. This model will subsequently be implemented in other cities in Quebec.
Faced with pressure from numerous indigenous communities and several organizations, the Couillard government announced in December 2016 the creation of a commission of inquiry responsible for studying the events in Val-d'Or, but more broadly all relations between Indigenous Peoples and Public Services.
Two and a half years later, the Viens Commission released its report, which contained 142 calls to action.< /p>
One year after the broadcast of the Enquête report, in October 2016, 42 Val-d'Or police officers filed a defamation suit worth nearly $3 million against Radio-Canada and journalist Josée Dupuis.
< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In court documents, the plaintiffs maintain that the report conveys a biased and defamatory portrait of Val-d'Or police officers, which is based entirely on the perceptions of alleged victims of abuse as well as those of people offering hearing testimonies. – to say, all amplified by the comments of Josée Dupuis.
We criticize the fact that journalistic standards were not respected in producing and publishing this report, adds Mr. Marco Gaggino, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, in an interview.
Radio-Canada, for its part, reiterates that the report was of great public interest. We intend to demonstrate the seriousness and rigor of our team's journalistic approach, indicates in writing Marc Pichette, first director, Marketing Communications and Media Relations, at the state corporation.
The case will be debated before the Superior Court of Quebec, at the Montreal courthouse, starting Monday. The trial is expected to last 16 weeks.
There are a large number of witnesses who will appear. Notably, we have 42 applicants on file. These people must all testify because they will share the individual damage they suffered as a result of the reporting. Also, witnesses will appear for Radio-Canada and experts will testify, so that's a large number of testimonies to be heard by the court, underlines Mr. Gaggino.
Each of the 42 police officers is seeking between $30,000 and $50,000 in damages.