Supreme Court rejects attempt to reclaim property by ex-drug boss who escaped from prison in a helicopter

One of the ex-drug bosses in Val-d'Or, Denis Lefebvre, failed in attempting to recover a commercial building seized by the prosecution, considered at the time to be acquired through his criminal activities.

The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the case.

Lefebvre acquired a certain level of notoriety on June 4, 2016, when he succeeded, along with his accomplices Serge Pomerleau and Yves Denis, in a spectacular escape by helicopter from the Orsainville penitentiary near Quebec City, where the three were detained after being convicted of drug trafficking.

The Supreme Court initially dismissed a motion for an extension of the time to serve and file the claim. The Court added that even if this motion had been granted, the main motion would have been dismissed anyway.

The Supreme Court ruling comes after a two-year legal battle in which Lefebvre attempted to overturn his commercial building's confiscation, which once housed his business: Pavage Val-d'Or.

Lefebvre also challenged the jury's guilty verdict handed down in 2014, claiming that the jury had been contaminated by the media hype surrounding the case and the escape of three of the four co-defendants from Orsainville penitentiary.

They were found in a condo in Old Montreal and returned behind bars a few days later.

In June 2018, the Quebec Court of Appeal granted a sentence reduction to Lefebvre and his colleague Yves Denis, since it considered that the time served in the Amos penitentiary should be credited to them twice.

The Court of Appeal had, however, rejected Lefebvre's request to overturn the confiscation of the building.

GANGSTERISM AND MURDER

Lefebvre, now 58 years old, was sentenced during a first trial in 2014 in Quebec city to a 20-year prison sentence for gangsterism and drug trafficking.

He was arrested on Oct. 6, 2010, during Operation Écrevisse, held in several establishments and residences in Val-d'Or.

The raid involving more than 400 police officers followed a more than six-year investigation involving surveillance and wiretapping.

Lefebvre was also sentenced to life in prison at the end of 2019 for the murder of Benoit Denis, which occurred in Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez in May 2010, and that of Johnny Coutu, nicknamed "the notary," which occurred in front of his home in Laval, on July 13, 2009.

Lefebvre was also convicted of manslaughter in the murder case of Kevin Walter, in Rouyn-Noranda on April 15, 2009.

The trial for the three murders -- held at the Gouin Judicial Center in Montreal -- lasted a year, and the jury's deliberations stretched out for 28 days, which is a record in Canadian judicial history.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020. 

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