MONTREAL — The Crown sought to admit new evidence Monday in the sexual assault trial of former Quebec television star Eric Salvail that it said indicates he gave a false impression of himself on the witness stand.
Prosecutor Amelie Rivard presented testimony to Judge Alexandre Dalmau from three people who claim to have been victims of inappropriate touching, exhibitionism, or repeated sexual comments from Salvail.
Salvail, who was in court Monday, is charged with sexual assault, harassment and unlawful confinement in connection with events alleged to have occurred between April and October 1993 against his former co-worker, Donald Duguay.
Judge Alexandre Dalmau took the request to admit the testimony under deliberation and said he would render a decision Sept. 4.
Rivard is attempting to challenge Salvail’s earlier testimony, when he said multiple times that he did not behave in inappropriate ways and is not the type of person Duguay alleges him to be.
Duguay has agreed to be identified publicly but the identities of the three people who offered new testimony against Salvail are under a publication ban.
The judge asked whether the prosecution’s request is aimed at having him “reject the testimony of Mr. Salvail, particularly the portion where he says: ‘I did not do that. I wouldn’t have done that. I never sexually assaulted anyone?’”
Rivard responded: “Exactly.”
Salvail’s defence lawyer said the evidence should not be admitted, and he challenged the suggestion that Salvail made his reputation an issue during his testimony. Michel Massicotte said it was the Crown who insisted on questioning Salvail about whether the accused ever crossed the line between humour and assault.
Salvail’s attorney said his client’s testimony was highly publicized in the media, and without that publicity, the Crown wouldn’t have received the new evidence it is seeking to have admitted.
Massicotte said the Crown is seeking to divert the trial.
“We are no longer in Duguay’s trial,” Massicotte said. “We are in a new trial … it will become the trial of Mr. Salvail’s morality.”
Rivard replied that the defence will surely attempt to attack the credibility of Duguay in its closing arguments.
“Before we get into the contradictions of Mr. Duguay, we are going to properly sketch out the credibility of Mr. Salvail,” she said, adding “I think this exercise cannot be done honestly and reasonably by a court with the image that Mr. Salvail gave in his testimony.”
During his testimony, Salvail categorically denied all of Duguay’s allegations, calling them “bizarre.”