In a major about-face, Quebec's justice minister will appoint a panel of independent prosecutors to look into the death of a five-year-old boy who was killed in February while the car he was riding in was struck by a speeding unmarked police car.
On Monday afternoon, Stéphanie Vallée announced the case will be reopened.
, I asked the director to entrust independent prosecutors with the evaluation of the file ... In the interest of transparency, these recommendations will be made public,” Vallée said at a news conference.
The boy was seriously injured as his father, Mike Belance, was turning left on a green light at an intersection in Longueuil, on Montreal’s South Shore. He died several days later in hospital.
The unmarked police car, driven by a Sûreté du Québec officer, was travelling at 122 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone.
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Montreal police investigated, and last Friday the DCPC announced it would not be laying any charges against the officer.
The panel appointed to look into the case is comprised of independent prosecutors, including a retired judge.
Witness speaks out
The justice minister’s announcement came just hours after a woman who witnessed the collision spoke out to the media.
Madeleine Noiseux said she decided to go public after learning that no criminal charges would be laid in the case.
When the crash happened, Noiseux was waiting for a bus — steps away — at the corner of Gaétan-Boucher Boulevard and Davis Boulevard.
Police investigating the collision interviewed Noiseux the day after it happened.
Noiseux said she was shocked to learn the officer involved would not be facing charges.
"I don't think it's fair. You can't blame the dad, because the other guy was going so fast. It's not normal to go so fast," said Noiseux.
The Crown prosecutor's office explained Friday why it chose not to charge the officer.
Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions René Verret said all evidence in the case was taken into consideration.
He said that included a statement from the father who told investigators he should not have turned left at the time and he did not have the right of way.