Accused Mob boss killer loses bid to quash corruption subpoena

Quebec Superior Court has rejected an attempt by Raynald Desjardins to avoid testifying at the province's corruption commission, a move he says could influence his murder trial.

Lawyer argues testimony could influence murder trial

Raynald Desjardins was arrested in December 2011 and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Salvatore Montagna. (Radio-Canada)

A man awaiting trial in the murder of a reputed Montreal Mob boss has lost a bid to avoid testifying at Quebec's corruption inquiry.

The lawyer representing Raynald Desjardins, who is accused of first-degree murder in the death of Salvatore Montagna last year, asked Quebec Superior Court to block a subpoena compelling him to testify before the Charbonneau commission.

His lawyer argued that his testimony could undermine his upcoming trial and the subpoena should be quashed.

On Monday, the court rejected that argument, citing provisions built into the commission to prevent influence on pending criminal cases — including closed-door testimony and immunity for witnesses.

Return to court possible

Desjardins's lawyer, Marc Labelle, said that doesn't go far enough to protect his client.

"Could this immunity be applied to a criminal trial? I don't know the answer, but it worries me."

He said there's no precedent for immunity granted by a provincial commission to be applied to a trial involving federal law.

Labelle will now have to make his case directly to the commission.

If the commission insists on hearing testimony by Desjardins, he could go back to court and challenge that decision.

A reputed associate of the Rizzuto clan, Desjardins was the suspected target of an assaination attempt in September 2011.

Two months later, Salvatore Montagna, a former New York Mafia boss who came to Montreal and is thought to have tried to take over the city's Mob, was gunned down northeast of Montreal.

Desjardins and four other men were arrested and charged in Montagna's death in December.