Ex-deputy Quebec premier Nathalie Normandeau requests stay of proceedings citing Jordan ruling

Normandeau's lawyers say her trial for corruption-related charges won't occur within a reasonable delay.

Normandeau's lawyers say her trial for corruption-related charges won't occur within a reasonable delay

Nathalie Normandeauand her co-accused face a slew of charges related to a contract awarded for a water-treatment plant in Boisbriand, Que. (Radio-Canada)

Ex-deputy Quebec premier Nathalie Normandeau's lawyers have requested a stay of proceedings, arguing that her fraud trial won't occur within a reasonable delay of time.

Normandeau was arrested last year along with her former chief of staff, Bruno Lortie, former Liberal cabinet minister and fundraiser Marc-Yvan Côté, two former Parti Québécois staffers and several figures associated with the engineering firm Roche (now known as Norda Stelo).

She and her co-accused are facing a slew of corruption-related charges related to a contract awarded for a water-treatment plant in Boisbriand, Que.

Normandeau's lawyers submitted a request Friday, citing the Supreme Court's Jordan ruling which imposes new deadlines on the justice system to avoid unreasonable trial delays — 30 months from the time of arrest, in the case of serious charges, or 18 months if there is no preliminary hearing.

In this case, the Crown chose to proceed with a direct indictment, skipping the preliminary inquiry in an effort to fast-track the process.

The defence argued that ditching this preliminary hearing means Normandeau's trial must be completed within the 18-month deadline, not the 30 months, as stipulated in the Supreme Court's ruling.

The request will be debated in January, and the trial is to begin in April, 23 months after the indictment.

$11-million contract

Normandeau and the others were arrested following an investigation by Quebec's anti-corruption unit, UPAC, into a contract for a water-treatment plant in Boisbriand, Que. that was awarded in 2007.

According to public documents, Normandeau — who was municipal affairs minister at the time — overruled the advice of senior bureaucrats to award the $11-million contract to engineering firm Roche. 

Roche also did fundraising for Normandeau during her time as an MNA and Liberal party candidate.

Normandeau's name came up frequently at the Charbonneau Commission, the province's corruption inquiry.

Her lawyer has vehemently denied any wrongdoing on her part.

With files from Radio-Canada's Yannick Bergeron