Lafleur found guilty of giving contradictory testimony

Hockey legend Guy Lafleur has been found guilty of misleading a judge in a court proceeding involving his son.

Quebec judge said it was obvious Lafleur knew he was lying during his testimony

Hockey legend Guy Lafleur has been found guilty of giving contradictory testimony and misleading a judge.

Hockey legend Guy Lafleur and his son Mark appeared together at the Montreal courthouse in 2007. ((Robert Skinner/Canadian Press/La Presse))
The former NHL star, who played much of his career with the Montreal Canadiens, was on trial this spring on a single charge of giving contradictory testimony during his son Mark's bail hearing in 2007.

When handing down the verdict Friday morning at the Montreal courthouse, Judge Claude Parent said it was obvious Lafleur knew he was lying when he first testified at his son's bail hearing.

Lafleur showed no reaction when Parent announced the verdict.

"He's very sad," said his lawyer, Jean-Pierre Rancourt. "He was hoping for an acquittal, but we will cope with this.

"He had no choice but to stay stoic. As a hockey player, he's used to handling stress."

Neither Crown nor defence want prison time for Lafleur 

Crown prosecutor Lori-Renée Weitzman is seeking a conditional sentence under house arrest, which she says would be lenient given the gravity of the charge.

"We’re not talking about the upper range of a two-year sentence in any way but a serious enough sentence to reflect the seriousness of the crime, because, without a doubt, it is a serious crime in this context," she said.

'He had no choice but to stay stoic. As a hockey player, he's used to handling stress.'—Jean-Pierre Rancourt, Guy Lafleur's lawyer

Rancourt dismissed Weitzman’s request, arguing Lafleur and his reputation have suffered enough, and he should just receive a fine.

The case has drawn intense media attention — surrounding everything from Mark’s arrest to his father's arrest and subsequent court appearances.

The ordeal has been humiliating for Lafleur, and now he has a criminal record jeopardizing his business interests that take him to the United States on a regular basis, Rancourt said.

Crossing the border will be difficult now unless Lafleur gets an exemption, "which could take a couple of years," Rancourt said.

Lafleur will continue to work as an ambassador for the Habs, said a spokesperson for the hockey club.

He will be sentenced on June 18.

Charge stems from son's assault case

After his son was arrested in 2007 on assault charges, Lafleur agreed to supervise him as part of his bail conditions, which included a curfew. 

When asked in court if Mark had ever failed to spend a night at home during the time he was under curfew, Lafleur said no.

'Without a doubt, it is a serious crime in this context.'—Crown prosecutor Lori-Renée Weitzman

But at his son's review for the bail hearing, Lafleur told a judge that he drove Mark to a hotel to meet his 16-year old girlfriend, because he felt it was important for them to spend some intimate time together.

The former right-winger has insisted throughout his trial that he didn't think he was doing anything wrong.

He launched a $3.5-million civil suit against Montreal police and Crown prosecutors over the warrant for his arrest.

Lafleur's son, who is now 23, is serving a 15-month community service sentence, after he pleaded guilty to the assault charges.

With files from The Canadian Press