Judge hears defence arguments at rape trial of ex-entertainment mogul Gilbert Rozon

Gilbert Rozon (CTV News)

A lawyer for former entertainment mogul Gilbert Rozon told the court Friday that the testimony of the complainant at her client's rape trial was unreliable and inconsistent.

Rozon, 65, is charged with rape and indecent assault for acts allegedly committed in 1980 in St-Sauveur when he was 25 years old. The wording of the charges is based on what was in the Criminal Code at the time.

The complainant, who was 20 at the time and whose identity is protected by a court order, testified that Rozon aggressively tried to have sex with her after a night out and only relented after she fought him off.

She remained the night, and the next morning she woke to find him on top of her and he raped her, she testified.

The founder of the Just for Laughs festival has denied any assault took place and testified that it was the woman who got into bed with him, and he woke up to her straddling him.

Defence lawyers Isabel Schurman and Pierre Poupart presented final arguments to Quebec court Judge Melanie Hebert Friday, with prosecutor Bruno Menard set to make his case on Nov. 19.

Schurman argued the evidence as a whole against Rozon is unreliable, and if there's any doubt, he should be acquitted.

"It would be dangerous to base a criminal conviction on this testimony, the reliability of which is questionable'' she said, adding the backdrop of the  MeToo movement further invites caution.
Schurman zeroed in on the testimony of the complainant, which she argued was neither reliable nor credible and was strewn with memory gaps about what happened.

She notably looked at occasions when the woman was unable to remember exactly what was said during her evening with Rozon or what she said to deter his advances.

The trial heard from just three witnesses, including the defendant and the complainant.

Schurman also brought up contradictions in the statements from the complainant, noting she didn't mention non-consent to police but did so during the trial, suggesting she only started using these expressions after talking to the police and realizing their importance.

"We will never know how she was influenced by the police,'' the lawyer said.
Rozon was surrounded by a few dozen protesters today as he arrived for the hearing at the Montreal courthouse.


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