Diskette becomes evidence at Quebec probe into selection of judges

An old diskette has been dusted off and become a potential key piece of evidence at the Quebec commission looking into allegations of political interference in the appointment of judges.

The diskette contains the diary from 2003 of former justice minister Marc Bellemare, the man whose allegations of impropriety prompted Premier Jean Charest to create the Bastarache commission.

Mr. Bellemare's lawyer has previously said the diary clearly indicates his client met with Mr. Charest on Sept. 2 of that year.

Mr. Bellemare, who was justice minister at the time, has repeatedly stated the Premier was indifferent at the meeting when informed that Liberal fundraisers were applying pressure to name specific judges.

Mr. Charest has categorically denied any such meeting took place.

Their radically different accounts of that evening have grabbed the attention of Quebeckers, with polls suggesting most people believed Mr. Bellemare over Mr. Charest.

Another piece of evidence tabled at the commission Friday was a CD-ROM transcript of a Liberal meeting Mr. Bellemare attended earlier on the same evening in his Quebec City riding.

That meeting supposedly began at 7 p.m., while the diary suggests the Charest-Bellemare get-together took place at 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Bellemare's lawyer, Renald Beaudry, says his client appeared only briefly at the Liberal meeting before he zipped along to see Mr. Charest.

Giuseppe Battista, the commission's lead counsel, submitted both the diskette and the CD-ROM as evidence.

“An expert has validated the authenticity of both the diskette and the CD, with both having last been updated in 2004,” Mr. Battista said.

Mr. Beaudry says Mr. Bellemare's spouse found the diskette last weekend as she was going through a box of letters and souvenirs.

Mr. Charest and Mr. Bellemare are also locked in a tit-for-tat legal battle. The Premier launched a $700,000 defamation lawsuit against Mr. Bellemare earlier this year, while the ex-justice minister responded with a $900,000 countersuit.

(Published by The Globe and Mail - October 1, 2010)

latest top stories

subscribe |  contact us |  sponsors |  migalhas in portuguese |  migalhas latinoamérica