Guy Lafleur asks court to ice arrest warrant

The arrest warrant issued against Guy Lafleur was illegal and should be thrown out, the lawyer for the former hockey great told a Montreal court Thursday.

Hockey legend returns to court on charges of obstructing justice

Guy Lafleur arrives at the Montreal courthouse Thursday. ((CBC))
The arrest warrant issued against Guy Lafleur was illegal and should be thrown out, the lawyer for the former hockey great told a Montreal court Thursday.

Police had issued an arrest warrant last January, alleging the former Montreal Canadien gave contradictory evidence on the witness stand at the bail hearings for his son, Mark.

When he learned authorities were looking for him, Lafleur turned himself into authorities the following day. He was charged with obstruction of justice.

Defence lawyer Louis Belleau told Judge Claude Parent Thursday that police, prosecutors and the courts should have protected the senior Lafleur's rights. Instead, he said, they violated them.

Obstruction charges stem from son's assault case

Mark Lafleur had been released into his parents' custody in 2007 after being charged with sexually assaulting a teenaged girl. The court ordered him to sleep at his parents' house as part of his bail conditions.

Lafleur testified that his son was abiding by a court-imposed curfew and was staying at the family home on Ile-Bizard. Police later discovered receipts showing the young Lafleur had slept at a hotel.

His father told the court that he drove his son on two occasions to hotels to give him privacy with his girlfriend.

Mark Lafleur was acquitted in June 2008 of two charges of sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to 14 other charges, including uttering death threats, forcible confinement and assault.  He will be sentenced on Feb. 5 in a Montreal court.

Lafleur felt sick after learning of arrest warrant

Guy Lafleur told the court last November that he felt sick to his stomach when he learned that police issued an arrest warrant against him.

Particularly humiliating, he said, were the phone calls he received from people in Los Angeles, Florida and Italy after "Lafleur Wanted" headlines appeared in the international press.

"I don't know anybody who gets an arrest warrant and isn't a criminal,'' Lafleur testified in November 2008. "I don't consider myself a criminal. It's very hard to live [with], even today.''

Belleau told reporters that Lafleur's alleged crime was not serious and police should have just sent him a summons.

He asked the court to nullify the arrest warrant. If that happens, he said, the case against Lafleur would be thrown out.

If convicted of obstructing justice, Lafleur could face a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Lafleur has filed a civil suit for unlawful arrest.

Drafted first overall by Montreal in 1971, Lafleur had 560 goals and 1,353 points in 1,127 NHL games, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.