Montreal

Convicted sex offender Bertrand Charest will stay in prison pending appeal

The Quebec Court of Appeal has rejected a request for the conditional release of convicted sex offender and former national ski coach Bertrand Charest.

Appeal Court justice says even successful appeal of some offences wouldn't significantly affect prison time

Bertrand Charest was sentenced to 12 years in prison. (CBC)

The Quebec Court of Appeal has rejected a request for the conditional release of convicted sex offender and former national ski coach Bertrand Charest.

Charest was sentenced to 12 years in prison in a Saint-Jérôme court earlier this month, for sexually assaulting teenage skiers he coached in the 1990s.

His lawyer is appealing some of the 37 charges for which he was found guilty, including one count of sexual assault causing bodily harm. 

Defence lawyer Louis-Nicolas Coupal argued last week that his client should receive a conditional release pending that appeal. 

In his written decision, Justice Martin Vauclair points out that Charest was found guilty of multiple offences involving multiple victims, and he's not convinced the defence's appeal — even if it were to be successful — would affect a significant portion of the former ski coach's sentence.

Vauclair said in his ruling that, having not yet heard the appeal case, he's not persuaded at this stage that there's reasonable justification for Charest's release. 

Charest offered guarantees

Charest's legal team said at last week's court hearing that the 52-year-old poses a low risk of reoffending and was willing to offer guarantees that he would abide by strict conditions in order to keep the public's faith in the justice system.

Lawyer Antonio Cabral also said Charest had hoped to reside at his home in Mont-Tremblant, where he proposed to have shared custody of his children.

Prosecutor Maxime Lacoursière said last week the public's faith in the justice system would have been put to the test if Charest were to have been released.

With files from Jaela Bernstien

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