2 more police officers benched after SQ head suspended

A day after the head of the Quebec provincial police force was suspended, two more police officers have been relieved of their duties.

Quebec government remains tight-lipped on why SQ head Martin Prud'homme is under investigation

Martin Prud'homme, pictured here before a commission in 2017, has been temporarily suspended. Two other officers have been assigned to desk duty. (Radio-Canada)

A day after the head of the Quebec provincial police force was suspended, two more police officers have been relegated to desk duty.

On Wednesday, it came to light that Martin Prud'homme, who recently returned to the Sûreté du Québec after a year-long stint as interim chief of the Montreal police service, is under investigation.

Prud'homme has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

According to Radio-Canada sources, the investigation has to do with allegations that he was involved in leaks to the media.

In October 2017, MNA and former police officer Guy Ouellette was arrested on suspicion he'd been involved in leaks about an investigation by the provincial anti-corruption unit (UPAC).

The leak revealed UPAC had been investigating ex-premier Jean Charest and Liberal fundraiser Marc Bibeau. Ouellette was never charged.

The two other officers assigned to desk duty Thursday also appear to be linked to UPAC and the investigation into Ouellette.

They are André Boulanger, who was the director of operations at UPAC under Robert Lafrenière, and Caroline Grenier Lafontaine, who was in charge of the investigation into Ouellette, according to Radio-Canada.

'An impact for every police officer'

Retired SQ veteran François Doré said these kinds of allegations reverberate in the police force and shake up the public's confidence. 

"There is an impact for every police officer, active or retired.... I'm sad for the Sûreté du Québec," he said. 

Doré​ worked alongside Prud'homme, most notably on the Cédrika Provencher case in 2007.

"He was a very good police officer," Doré said. 

With the government and provincial police force so tight-lipped about the specifics of the allegations, Doré said it's easy for people to speculate.

"Public opinion is so fast ... to accuse, judge and sentence people that there will always be a doubt," he said.

He said the truth needs to come out as quickly as possible, to help restore public faith in their institutions. 

"I'm still hoping for the truth to come out, and then we can rebuild on that." 

About the Author

Jaela Bernstien is a reporter based in Montreal. She's covered a wide range of news topics, ranging from criminal trials to ice age caves, and everything in between.