Guy Lafleur acquitted
Quebec's highest court has acquitted former NHL hockey star Guy Lafleur, earlier convicted of giving contradictory testimony at his son's sexual assault and forcible confinement trial.
A panel of three judges at the Quebec Court of Appeal announced the unanimous decision on Tuesday in Montreal.
In a written statement released Tuesday, Lafleur's lawyer Louis Belleau said his client is delighted by the decision, given his "bitter" experience with the judicial system.
Last year, Lafleur was found guilty of a charge of providing contradictory testimony under oath during his son Mark's bail hearing in 2007, and received a suspended sentence and a criminal record.
The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail. Lafleur was also ordered to make a $10,000 donation to a drug rehabilitation centre, and pay a $100 fine.
Contradictory testimony came during bail hearing
During his testimony, Lafleur told the court that Mark was respecting his curfew while he lived with his parents in Ile-Bizard, a suburb of Montreal. But Lafleur failed to mention that he drove Mark twice to a nearby hotel in order for his son to visit with his girlfriend.
The hockey great eventually mentioned the two hotel visits in subsequent court proceedings, prompting the charge against him.
Lawyers representing the Hall of Fame player argued that the charge was not warranted because the judge overseeing Mark Lafleur's bail hearing did not take into consideration that their client thought the curfew only applied to hours, and not location.
The Quebec Court of Appeal agreed.
It's not clear whether the Crown will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. But Belleau said that possibility is highly unlikely.
The unanimous decision from the Court of Appeal has ultimately redeemed Canada's legal system in Lafleur's eyes, Belleau said.
Lafleur played his first 14 NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.
Lafleur's son was troubled
In 2009, Mark Lafleur pleaded guilty to uttering death threats, forcible confinement and assault. He was acquitted of two charges of sexual assault. He received a community sentence of 15 months, plus three years of probation and a strict curfew. The charges were connected to a past relationship with a teenaged girl.
The 24-year-old has struggled with drug addiction and has undergone treatment on several occasions.
The girl is now 20, and her identity is protected by a publication ban.
With files from The Canadian Press